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Memorandum September 21, 2015

AU Community
Neil Kerwin, President
Pope Francis's Visit to Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., is privileged to host the visit of Pope Francis to the nation's capital from Tuesday, September 22 through Thursday, September 24.

Based on the volume of attendees and the outdoor/public venues to be used, event organizers and safety personnel are calling this the highest security operation in U.S. history.

Along with throngs of people coming to Washington to participate in this event, the transportation planning, street closures, and security arrangements will affect everyone in the region. The activities include a visit to the White House; a parade around the White House Ellipse; Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Michigan Avenue; speaking before a joint session of Congress, with Jumbotrons showing the speech in a special viewing area on the National Mall; and other events.

These activities are in addition to the other highly attended events taking place in Washington, D.C., this week, from sporting events to concerts.

American University plans to remain open during these events, with updates to come as warranted. All scheduled activities are expected to take place as currently planned. However, we will be mindful of the impacts of the Papal visit activity:

  • Employees should expect significant commuting delays and disruptions, so allow extra time for travel and commuting via any and all modes of transportation;
  • Employees should work with their supervisors to use workplace flexibility options such as adjusting their work schedule if necessary to allow for delayed arrivals or early departures, taking annual leave or leave without pay, or telework if appropriate;
  • As needed, faculty may opt to use online instruction as we offer during snow days;
  • For internships/externships, students should follow the directives of their internship/externship placements regarding attendance on Wednesday and Thursday;
  • Please monitor local news media announcements on street closures or disruptions to public transportation.

A number of helpful links have been published (two of which are listed below) to outline the events and accompanying transportation and security ramifications.