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Spelman College Announces Virtual Instruction for the Fall 2020 Semester Share a Spelman College Press Release


Jazmyn Burton
Spelman College
(404) 798-5212
Twitter: @SpelmanMedia 

Spelman News Fall 2020
ATLANTA (July 20, 2020) – In a letter to the Spelman College community, President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D. announced the College’s decision today to move to virtual instruction for all students during the fall 2020 semester.

Due to data points that indicate a worsening health crisis in the city of Atlanta and in Fulton county, in which Spelman and the Atlanta University Center are located, college officials decided the campus would not be able to sustain a residential campus and in-person instruction.

The announcement comes nearly three weeks after the College decided to invite first-year students for on campus instruction.

“It was just 19 days ago, on July 1, when we published our plan, fully anticipating that, as summer progressed, the virus would subside,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., president of Spelman College. “Quite the opposite has been the case. An honest appraisal of the facts compelled us to change course.”

The change was made in accordance with expert guidance due to the recent surge in COVID-19 infection rates and reduction of hospital intensive care unit beds in Atlanta and Georgia, and alarming trends across the nation. 

In a shift that replaces the previously announced hybrid plan for the Fall 2020 Semester, Spelman joins two of its counterparts in the Atlanta University Center Consortium — Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College — in its decision to  move to virtual instruction for all students during the Fall 2020 Semester.

Morehouse School of Medicine, also in the AUCC, will move forward with a hybrid model of in-person and virtual instruction given the school’s role in healthcare delivery and the training of public health and medical professionals.

Given that the AUCC represents historically Black colleges and universities, today’s announcement also considers current data on the disproportionately negative impact of COVID-19 on Black populations, as well as the increased spread of the virus within young adult populations.

“The health and safety of our students was the deciding factor in this difficult situation,” wrote Dr. Campbell in her letter to incoming first-year students. “Because of the worsening health crisis, we have reluctantly come to the realization that we can no longer safely sustain a residential campus and in-person instruction… I can imagine how disappointing this must be for some of you. For others, the change may bring a sense of relief, because, as much as our hearts want to be together, our heads must guide us in these uncertain times.”

Spelman currently has more than 500 students enrolled in summer online classes. The virtual fall semester will benefit from the training of nearly 200 faculty members in the College’s Online Course Development Program that assists faculty as they  re-imagine and re-create their courses as engaging and effective virtual  learning spaces.

To view specific plans and learn more about plans for virtual learning and review a list of frequently asked questions visit

Frequently Asked Questions

What counseling and wellness services are available?
The Counseling Center will continue to provide services through tele-mental health platforms. The Initiatives and programs through the Wellness Center will continue to be offered virtually

Will anyone be able to live in campus residence halls?
During the fall semester students will not be able to reside in the residence halls. The College recognizes that students may face extenuating circumstances, those with concerns involving financial matters can apply for support through the Student Emergency Fund.

What social experiences are being planned?
The college is making every effort to ensure that our students are socially engaged.  The Office of Student Life and Engagement, The Chapel and the Wellness Center are in the process of planning various virtual activities that will be offered during the fall semester.

How have tuition and fees been adjusted for virtual study?
The College is prepared to offer the same excellence in the quality of instruction and instructional support virtually, as is offered in our face-to-face academic experience.

However, we acknowledge and understand that studying virtually may not be the desired experience and unfortunately, the change in your mode of study is forced, not chosen.

Due to this inconvenience, the College will offer a 10 percent discount on tuition and an average of 40 percent discount on mandatory fees.

The reduction in mandatory fees reflects the elimination of some fees most closely tied to on campus activities and a reduction in the library fee. The library fee continues to be assessed at a reduced rate to support expansive access to digital materials.

The technology fee will not only support 100 percent of  virtual instruction, but also a very active student life filled with virtual activities that foster the camaraderie and community our students expect and enjoy.

Additionally, the heath fee will support a robust telehealth option to include a virtual counseling platform, and even access to some virtual wellness activities.

Spelman College
Founded in 1881 in Atlanta, Spelman College, a historically Black college and a global leader in the education of women of African descent, is dedicated to academic excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and the intellectual, creative, ethical, and leadership development of its students. Home to 2,100 students, Spelman empowers the whole person to engage the many cultures of the world and inspires a commitment to positive social change. Designated by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, the College is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math. Recent initiatives include a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. With an annual six-year graduation rate 30 points higher than the average for African Americans nationally, Spelman graduates’ students who win prestigious national and international awards, virtually every year, including Fulbright, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, Rangel and Pickering. U.S. News and World Report 2020 rankings list Spelman as No. 57 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 22 for undergraduate teaching, No. 6 for both innovation and social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 13th year among Historically Black Colleges and Universities.


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