In-person pre-orientation programs have been canceled for August because of concerns about the coronavirus and the “uncertainty of the fall semester,” Jordan Hale, director of new student programs and associate dean of housing and residence life, wrote in a Monday email to pre-orientation program staff.
“At this point, the lingering public health crisis outweighs our shared desire to hold these programs in-person,” Hale wrote. “While this is very disappointing news, we believe that this decision ensures that the health and safety of both participants and you, as program staff, remain our top priority.”
New Student Programs considered the decision with guidance from Duke and Durham officials, according to Hale's email. Along with program directors and administration teams, the team is looking to offer virtual ways to engage with incoming first-year students, and potentially host the programs later in the year.
“The University's senior leadership is thinking through various scenarios in which students will be able to come to campus throughout the fall semester or into the spring semester,” Hale wrote. “If these opportunities present themselves, we know offering pre-orientation opportunities will be a key part of this welcome.”
Pre-orientation programs center on themes including the arts, community service and research. They run between one and two weeks, and locations range from campus to the Duke Marine Lab and the Pisgah National Forest, depending on the program.
No announcement has been made regarding on-campus classes in the fall. President Vincent Price has appointed a team—Team 2021—focused on guiding decisions on campus operations in the coming months. The team will deliver a preliminary report by June 1.
This is a developing story and will be updated if more information becomes available.
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Preetha Ramachandran is a Trinity senior and diversity, equity and inclusion coordinator for The Chronicle's 118th volume. She was previously senior editor for Volume 117.