Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about the 2020-2021 academic year
The Petrel Pledge is a shared responsibility and commitment to the health and well-being of the Oglethorpe community.
The COVID-19 Handbook outlines the protocols, policies, and procedures for a COVID-conscious campus environment. Members of the OU community are expected to adhere to the handbook as part of their “Petrel Pledge.”
The COVID-19 Task Force also released a Campus Protection Guide that introduced three protection phases for campus operations. Oglethorpe is currently operating under the red phase, with campus being closed with limited exceptions and delivering fully remote instruction through J-Term 2021.
Finances & Student Work
Oglethorpe’s Financial Aid Office is pleased to help with your questions about financial aid for the January 2021 Term. As you consider your options, please consider the following information regarding financial aid eligibility for the January 2021 Term:
- Institutional aid will primarily remain on student accounts for the traditional fall and spring semesters only. Institutional scholarships and grants will not be applied to expenses incurred during the January 2021 Term.
- State aid, specifically aid that’s been provided by the State of Georgia, like the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships, Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant, and Student Access Loan, can be considered, but largely will not apply for the January 2021 Term. Most forms of state aid require a minimum of half-time enrollment.
- Federal aid can also be considered. Like state aid, Direct Loans (Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans) require a minimum of half-time enrollment and likely cannot be used for the January 2021 Term. However, some students who have been awarded a Federal Pell Grant may be eligible to use a small portion of their grant for the January 2021 Term.
- Private Education Loans exist that can be used for semesters in which a student is enrolled less than half-time. If you have already secured a Private Education Loan for the year and would like to inquire about using a portion toward January 2021 Term expenses, please contact the Financial Aid Office at email@example.com.
Please know that the Financial Aid Office will be reviewing the award letters of all students enrolling in the January 2021 Term to allocate additional, available Pell Grants where students are eligible. If you’d like to discuss your award letter, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campus jobs and federal-work study positions will take place remotely. More information about applying for positions will be released at the beginning of the semester.
If you have already set up a payment plan or paid your balance for the Fall semester, and you will no longer be living on-campus, a credit will be posted to your account. If you need to adjust your payment plan, please contact Theresa Keppen (email@example.com) in our Office of Student Accounts and she can assist you.
Students experiencing additional financial hardship due to COVID-19 will be eligible to apply for emergency assistance funding. Please complete this form and a member of our financial aid team will follow up with you.
All Gables and commuter meal plan charges will be automatically removed from your bill. If you have already paid a credit will be posted to your account.
Student Support & Campus Life
We will continue to offer a low-density model for campus housing and students will not be required to live on-campus. Our low-density model will allow for 1 person per room, and up to 2 students sharing a bathroom. If you lived on campus in the fall, you will be allowed to stay in your current assignment for the spring semester. There will be options for students to change their housing assignment, or change their suitemate if desired. If you currently reside off-campus, or you are a new student for Spring 2021, and would like to move on-campus, the housing application will be released on December 1 and stay open until January 8. More information will be sent by Residence Life regarding the Spring 2021 housing application in November. Unfortunately, Greek housing will remain closed for the spring semester.
Students living on campus are expected to adhere to community guidelines including the mandatory use of face coverings in all public spaces and careful observation of social distancing measures. Residents will have access to COVID-19 testing and can expect to be tested on campus prior to move-in and on a regular basis. We are following the guidelines of public health officials and we have developed measures around contract tracing and quarantining on-campus.
The Class of 2021 commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 9 a.m.
The Class of 2020 commencement is now rescheduled for Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 9 a.m.
Additional details regarding commencement ceremonies will follow as plans are finalized.
Computers or tablets will be available for loan on a first-come, first-served basis to non-residential students through the library. Should the demand exceed inventory, the university is committed to working with students on a solution. Students who choose to live on campus will have access to wifi and computers in designated computer labs. An overview of recommended technology is available here.
Campus Life and the A_LAB will be working with Student Involvement and Greek Life to produce a robust array of engaging programming that will be accessible to students remotely. Campus jobs and federal-work study positions will also take place remotely.
All students will have the opportunity to participate in virtual events including, but not limited to wellness and mental health workshops, community forums and discussions on race, culture, and democratic engagement, dynamic speakers on personal and professional development, e-sports, team trivia and virtual gaming, and much more. While safety necessitates the residential experience to look different than it has in past years, residents can still expect opportunities to engage in socially distanced community-building activities and co-curricular programming such as movies on the quad, outdoor picnics, and community campfires. As always, the Student Government Association allocates the entirety of activity fees to student organizations who will also be creating community programming.
We will continue to foster your connection to the city of Atlanta and beyond through a dynamic speaker series designed to create access to city, community, and professional leaders. We will be reaching out to solicit your input on the type of remote programming, events, and speakers you would like to see this fall.
Additionally, we will be offering expanded skill building, mentoring, and leadership initiatives across campus. These resources – such as interactive workshops and pop-up seminars – are designed to help students cultivate meaningful relationships, grow their professional network, and expand their leadership skills. These offerings will be interdisciplinary and allow students to develop applied professional skills and build their resume in meaningful and tangible ways.
We will continue to closely monitor the pandemic as the situation unfolds in Atlanta. If conditions improve and we are able to safely introduce more sanctioned activities on campus, we plan to do so.
Additionally, the COVID-19 Task Force has also released a Campus Protection Guide that introduced three protection phases for campus operations. Oglethorpe is currently operating under the red phase, with campus being closed with limited exceptions and delivering fully remote instruction.
Individual and group counseling is available to enrolled students. Counseling is helpful for coping with challenges such as depression and anxiety, and can enhance wellbeing by helping to students to improve communication, clarify values and goals, strength self-esteem, make important life decisions, or simply understand oneself better. All services will be provided remotely for the foreseeable future. Session limits have been eliminated and services will be based on each student’s specific needs. Complete information can be found at https://counseling.oglethorpe.edu.
All sanctioned in-person athletic gatherings are postponed until the spring semester and will return to play beginning in January 2021.
Additionally, the Southern Athletic Association announced a COVID-19 fan policy, limiting fans to students, faculty and staff members that are part of an SAA institution’s COVID-19 on-campus community. At this current time, no outside fans, parents or spectators will be allowed at any SAA competition.
Academic Support & Remote Learning
View the academic calendars for the spring semester. The announced academic calendar for Spring 2021 includes the introduction of a January 4-week mini-mester, or J-Term, for 2021. The J-Term will be delivered remotely and run from January 7 through February 4. Registration for J-Term 2021 is scheduled to begin November 16, the same as Spring 2021 registration.
The spring semester will begin February 8 with final exams concluding May 18. The plan is to offer a combination of in-person, hybrid and remote courses in Spring 2021.
Oglethorpe is able to continue our honored tradition of providing small, discussion-based, high-engagement courses taught only by experts in their field. Additionally, our renowned faculty have been and will continue to engage in professional development related to remote teaching and upgrading the virtual classroom experience.
In an effort to provide maximum flexibility, and in accordance with continued public health guidance, Oglethorpe plans to offer a combination of in-person, hybrid, and remote courses in Spring 2021.
Both in-person and hybrid courses will have an anticipated on-campus component. In-person offerings plan to have all course materials delivered synchronously on-campus, while hybrid courses will have a mix of synchronous in-person elements and some virtual content. Faculty teaching courses in-person are expected to provide alternative materials for students who are unable to attend due to illness or other circumstances. Remote courses will continue to meet virtually. The modality of all courses will be indicated in OASIS.
When possible, virtual events will have an in-person attendance option. Students can expect programming such as wellness workshops, discussions and community forums on race, culture, and democratic engagement, dynamic speakers on personal and professional development, e-sports, team trivia and virtual gaming, and much more. While safety necessitates the residential experience to look different than it has in past years, residents can still expect opportunities to engage in socially distanced community-building activities and co-curricular programming such as movies on the quad, outdoor picnics and games, and community campfires. As always, the Student Government Association allocates the entirety of activity fees to student organizations who will also be creating community programming.
Yes, your class schedule should be the same and is available in Oasis. If you are an incoming first year student and have questions about your schedule please contact our Compass Advising Team at CompassAdvise@oglethorpe.edu. If you are a returning student and have questions about your schedule, please contact either your faculty advisor or Academic Success at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, faculty will still hold office hours at designated times each week and will be available remotely by phone or Zoom.
The withdrawal dates for individual courses was moved to December 9, 2020 for Fall 2020 courses, and May 5, 2021 for Spring 2021 traditional undergraduate courses. This gives students greater flexibility if they need to withdraw from a full-semester course.
Withdrawal for Adult Degree Program courses can be found in the Academic Calendar.
The Academic Success team will continue to offer complete academic support services, including academic coaching and advising, peer tutoring, supplemental instruction, and accessibility services. The Academic Success website has also been updated to include several recommendations for remote learning success at success.oglethorpe.edu. For assistance, please contact email@example.com.
Note: The COVID-19 Hiatus is no longer an option for Fall 2020 since the semester has already begun.
Despite the current obstacles we all face, Oglethorpe remains confident in our plans for an enriching and vibrant academic and student experience for the upcoming Fall 2020 semester. We also understand, however, that not everyone is comfortable with the conditions, and some of our students and families face distinct challenges to remaining enrolled. We respect the difficult decisions everyone must make. Some of you may elect to take a short break from your Oglethorpe career, so we have developed the COVID-19 Hiatus process to make this as smooth as possible if you are in this situation. This form will be available until classes start (September 8) for students that need to take a brief step away from their Oglethorpe studies. During your time away, we will keep in touch with you to make sure you are prepared when it is time to return.
Yes, students will be able to live in on-campus housing. Our lower density model will provide more space between residents while still allowing safe and socially distanced community and co-curricular activities. Students living on campus will be expected to adhere to the Community Living Contract outlined in the COVID-19 handbook. Residents will have access to COVID-19 testing and can expect to be tested on campus prior to move-in and on a monthly basis.
Additional information for on-campus residents can be found in the Residence Hall Updates via the Quick Links on the COVID-19 home page. Students who wished to opt-out of their on-campus housing requirement in Fall 2020 were able to do so via the On-Campus Opt-out form.
At the present time, the Turner Lynch Campus Center and the Petrel’s Nest Dining Hall will remain open for safe and socially distanced use.
Greek housing will be closed for the Fall and Spring semesters.
Additional information for on-campus residents can be found in the Residence Hall Updates via the Quick Links on the COVID-19 home page.
Access to campus is currently restricted, as Oglethorpe is operating under the red phase of the Campus Protection Guide through the duration of J-Term 2021. It is expected that campus will be accessible to commuter students who are taking classes on campus in Spring 2021. Commuter students will be expected to follow the policies and protocols outlined in the COVID-19 Handbook, which will include regular COVID-19 testing and participation in self-health screenings via the LifeguardRx mobile app.
Campus will continue to be closed to students taking fully remote classes.