Dear Girard Families,

Based on recent recommendations from the Pennsylvania Department of Education as well as data from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia PolicyLab, Girard College will be transitioning to a fully virtual learning model beginning on Monday, November 16. This was not an easy decision, especially as we just welcomed many of our students back to campus, but after careful consideration, we believe this step is necessary to safeguard the health and safety of all in our community.
 
Please note that this does not mean the school or campus is closing. Faculty and staff will continue to work to support students through virtual instruction and stand ready to welcome them back in person as soon as it is safe to do so.
 
However, with COVID-19 rates in our area continuing to rise, we do not have an exact timeline for a return to in-person instruction. The current test positivity rate in Philadelphia is 9.1%. Our ability to bring students back to campus will depend on the reversal of this trend. We will continue to monitor the data and follow recommendations from health experts, and will provide updates on a regular basis.

Students who are on campus this week will be dismissed at the usual time on Thursday with the materials needed to continue their studies virtually next week. If you have any questions about academic materials, virtual learning, or any other concerns, please email us at reopening@girardcollege.edu and we will direct your question to the appropriate person.
 
I know this news is disheartening, especially considering how hard everyone has worked to ensure a safe environment for our students. We have demonstrated that we can operate safely during this pandemic, but we cannot ignore the worsening circumstances around us.
 
We knew that COVID-19 would require us to be flexible this year, and while we are well-prepared to take this step, it is still difficult. Let’s continue to support each other as we face this next challenge. Please take every precaution to remain safe. Continue mask-wearing, handwashing, and social distancing consistent with PA guidelines.

Further, I strongly encourage you to enjoy Thanksgiving only with those in your own household as CDC and Philadelphia public health guidance recommends. Please cancel any large family holiday gatherings, as they are dangerous at this time. The health and well-being of our Girard community rests on the individual actions we each undertake.

Thank you for your continued strength and trust in us as we navigate this unprecedented school year.
Sincerely,
Heather D. Wathington, Ph.D.
President, Girard College