AU will update its spring operating status by end of October, University announces

University to hold off on additional furloughs, hiring freeze to remain in place

AU will update its spring operating status by end of October, University announces

The Mary Graydon Center, pictured in 2016. 

President Sylvia Burwell announced in a University-wide email on Monday that an update regarding American University’s plans for the spring semester will come by the end of this month.

Like the decision to make classes online this past spring, summer and fall, Burwell said that the “key factors” in the University’s decision-making process will remain the same. These factors include the overall case count and trajectory of the pandemic, availability of widespread testing, contact tracing capacities, and the impact of D.C. requirements such as the 14-day quarantine for people from high-risk states

“Our goal is to ramp up in-person curricular, co-curricular, and residential opportunities over time as health and safety conditions allow,” Burwell wrote in her email.

This announcement comes after George Washington University announced on Friday that it will remain mostly online for their upcoming spring semester. 

Burwell also said there will be no further University-wide personnel actions taken, including additional furloughs or salary cuts. 

According to the email, the University has used over $40 million in reserve funds to avoid “significant personnel actions.”

The University previously announced that all employees making over $40,000 would undergo a five-day furlough between November and March and that the suspension of University contributions to employees’ retirement funds will continue through July 31, 2021. 

Additionally, the University has been able to keep fall enrollment levels within its projections, Burwell wrote, and is encouraging students who have deferred their enrollment to return in spring 2021. 

“We need to continue our vigilance, adhere to all cost-saving measures, and maintain our focus on enrollment and retention,” Burwell said. 

AU's hiring freeze will remain in effect, and the University will continue to hire for only “critical” positions, according to Burwell’s email. 

Burwell said that the nature of the pandemic makes decisions challenging and that plans will evolve over time. 

“We know we cannot return to completely normal operations immediately, and we need to remember that the public health situation can change in an instant,” Burwell wrote. 

nheller@theeagleonline.com 

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