American University of Beirut

Statement to AUB students for fall term 2020-21

​Dear AUB Students,
The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) is eager to welcome back its students for the fall term 2020-21. 
Life on campus is an important aspect of every student’s learning journey and personal growth, and while curricular and co-curricular activities are equally important to the AUB experience, these can only happen successfully in a safe environment where the health and safety of our students and the wider AUB community are put first. 
We realize that no return on campus is without risk and that the coronavirus pandemic will affect and alter student  life on campus and students’ ability to make meaningful connections. We therefore aim to minimize risk by working closely with our Expert Committee on COVID-19 and setting up a system that will allow students to experience an alternative campus life by holding in-person activities when and where that is possible and virtual methods of exchange when necessary. 
The academic calendar for the fall term remains unaltered with instruction starting and concluding as originally scheduled, on September 1 and December 2, 2020, respectively. 
Faculties/Schools are hard at work preparing to resume academic activities in line with guidance from the Expert Committee on COVID-19 to control the density of people on campus. While a significant portion of fall instruction will be carried out online, faculties/schools and programs remain committed, when possible, to delivering valuable on-campus experiences to students. Students who are unable or who choose not to come to campus will be provided with an enriching and rigorous curriculum delivered remotely, except for courses that require in-person presence due to specific program requirements. By August 10, class schedules will clearly identify which courses will require presence on campus, so students can plan accordingly. Department chairs and academic advisers will be available to support students who need guidance or individual accommodation. 
Campus Life and New Student Orientation 
The university recognizes the significance of life on campus, especially for first year students who may find critical support, exposure and strength by being on campus during their learning experience at AUB. 
For all new students, orientation this year will be fully online and wholly revamped from previous years. It will include a richer program that intends to be interactive and even more educational. New students should be expecting a specific message in August that provides information on the orientation’s agenda and planned activities. We are all very excited to welcome the new students to the AUB family to start a journey that will set them on a life-changing track. 
For safety reasons, student housing will operate on a limited capacity basis for this term and we apologize in advance for not being able to accommodate all submitted applications. Considering the current state of COVID-19 and our current context, lockdown and strict measures may be applied within the AUB residence halls based on recommendations from our health and safety experts. We ask that students consistently check the OSA website and contact the residence hall office for any updates regarding check-in dates, procedures and any revised policies. 
Student activities, such as clubs and societies will continue to operate through online meetings and virtual efforts as well as face-to face activities when possible. 
Student Support and Success
 Except for Saab Medical Library, AUB Libraries’ public facilities will remain closed. All libraries will continue to provide access to the vast majority of their resources and services online. The libraries will supply users with digital copies of materials available only in print. Students may borrow and return print books from the libraries on advance notice via email. 
The Career hub will carry on serving the community through online sessions and resources. 
The food services on campus will continue to be available at the Ada Dodge and OSB cafeterias, which will function by providing take-out and a limited capacity for on-site dining. 
Student Health and Wellness 
AUB is committed to ensuring students’ wellbeing, especially in these challenging times. Through its Counseling Center, it pledges to keep empowering students through mental health support in the form of organized workshops and virtual group sessions, as well as online and face-to-face individual support sessions, encouraging self-discovery and learning. 
Physical health and sport related activities will continue to be supported at the Charles Hostler Student Center (CHSC) gym, track and tennis courts. While the gym and indoor pool are currently closed due to the rise in COVID-19 cases and the national lockdown, if the situation permits, we look forward to welcoming students back into our facilities taking necessary safety precautions. Through the reliance on prescheduled sessions and reservations to limit crowding, and through controlled setups and disinfecting we hope to provide students with a supportive environment to engage with each other through sports and physical activity. Ensuring the health and safety of the AUB community is a shared responsibility and students play an important role in making sure that these measures are met. 
Depending on the level of risk of activities and the status of the pandemic within our local and immediate context, and through regular evaluations, approaches may be altered to advance best practices in order to ensure the best possible environment for our students, staff, faculty and the larger community. We acknowledge that the regular adjustments and revisions of methods and approaches, while they may be key to a successful and safe academic term, may bring with them challenges. Nevertheless, we hope that this readiness and training in continuous adaptation will turn out to be one of the major learning outcomes and assets for the next generation of AUB graduates as they embark on their journey for a new and changing future.  
Talal Nizameddin, PhD
Dean of Student Affairs
American University of Beirut
Beirut Lebanon
Tel: 01374 374 ex 3170

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