Emory to require COVID-19 testing for fall face-to-face instruction

Emory University announced Thursday plans for how it will conduct classes for the fall semester when it will return to in-person instruction.

Plans include limiting how many students can reside in dorms, mandatory COVID-19 testing of students in those dorms and those taking in-person classes, and concluding the semester by Thanksgiving.

The plans also include random temperature checks across campus each day by trained university staff and setting limits on most in-person, large lectures to minimize class sizes. The fall semester will begin Aug. 19 and finals will be conducted remotely.

“COVID-19 testing will be mandatory for all students living in residence halls, along with those taking in-person classes, upon or shortly before returning to campus, and will be available at any time during the semester for those who are symptomatic and for their close contacts. Faculty and staff will have access to testing on demand,” Emory said on its website.

Emory, the state's largest private university, ended in-person instruction in March to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 2,300 Georgians. Emory and other colleges and universities have spent months figuring out how to reopen their campuses. Some have said they plan to conduct classes in person while others plan to hold all classes online or offer a mix of classes online and in person.

Emory's plan is among the most detailed yet of any Georgia college or university concerning its rules for testing of COVID-19. The university said in a statement that some details are still to come, such as rules about face coverings and social distancing. The AJC is also seeking information about what, if any, penalties will there be for students or faculty who do not follow the guidelines.

Officials said it “may be rare for students to have entirely in-person schedules.” Other major changes include holding classes on Labor Day and eliminating fall break.

“While much will be different this fall, there are core elements of the Emory experience that will remain the same,” Emory President Claire Sterk and President-elect Gregory Fenves said in a joint statement.

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