University to offer half-semester housing program on campus for the spring

The freshmen-priority program will begin in March

University to offer half-semester housing program on campus for the spring

The Mary Graydon Center, pictured in 2016. 

American University plans to offer a half-semester on-campus residential experience for 1,250 full-time students from March to May 2021, with priority given to freshmen, University President Sylvia Burwell announced in an email to the community on Wednesday. 

The program, previously called a “mini-mester” in the spring 2021 plan, gives students the option to live on campus in single rooms for the second half of the spring semester, with food provided through AU’s meal plan. While the program won’t affect course modalities, whether online or partially in-person, Burwell wrote that freshmen, in particular, have expressed interest in living on campus for the first time. 

Students on campus will join a few hundred who were given emergency housing for the spring, Burwell wrote, bringing the residential total on AU’s campus to more than 1,500. All will be required to follow COVID-19 health and safety regulations put in place during the fall semester, including social distancing and mask wearing. 

“We are excited to provide this opportunity to strengthen the communities that students have been forming and building so creatively this year,” Burwell wrote. “While American University will continue dynamic virtual engagements in the months ahead, we look forward to this next phase of our return to campus as we ramp up for summer and fall.”

Students will move in primarily during “Wellness Week,” a week without exams and written assignments aimed at promoting student well-being. AU created the alternative spin on spring break in an attempt to prevent students from traveling in order to avoid a spike in coronavirus cases. 

Students are expected to get a COVID-19 test 72 hours before traveling to D.C., the FAQ states. Upon arrival, they will isolate for another three days before getting tested again. The protocols are required regardless of vaccination. 

AU will require all students living on campus and at the Frequency Apartments to be tested twice weekly. 

Sophomores, juniors and seniors will also be eligible for the program. Single-occupancy housing will be available in Anderson, Letts, Leonard, Hughes and McDowell halls, costing students $2,478 for the half-semester, the University’s FAQ states. Students may visit other residence halls but will be limited to one guest at a time. 

Students will be required to sign up for a $1,588 meal plan, which will provide them with to-go meals from AU Dining and other food vendors on campus. 

In addition, the University requires all on-campus students to sign up for health insurance through July 31, an additional $1,139, unless they receive a waiver, as done in previous years. 

Applications for the program open Jan. 5 through 18, Burwell wrote, with move-in taking place between March 4 and 14. The University will host a webinar to answer further questions on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.

dpapscun@theeagleonline.com, aveitch@theeagleonline.com

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