July 8, 2020

Update on plans for Furman’s fall return

Dear Students,

We are looking forward to seeing you on campus and to the opportunity to live and learn together again, even if that might look different this semester.

As we diligently plan for the Fall 2020 semester, it is important to keep in mind that returning to in-person instruction still depends on the spread of COVID-19 here in Greenville and across the country, and how we follow health and safety protocols. Among our campus community, the utmost responsibility lies with each student, faculty and staff member to adhere to the guidelines on our health and safety and healthy habits pages of our Furman Focused: Fall 2020 website.

Most notably, all students and employees are required to wear cloth face coverings at all times when in campus buildings unless a specific exception is granted. Students and employees are also required to practice physical distancing, frequently wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, and to monitor their health daily and to quarantine if they feel ill or if they have a fever of 100.4 or higher.

At least 14 days before coming to campus, you should refrain from gathering in large crowds, practice physical distancing (6 feet or more), and avoid contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus. This will help to protect your health and the health of those with whom you will come into contact after you arrive on campus. These requirements are included in the Paladin Promise, which is not only an obligation to health and safety, but also a personal commitment to help each other be successful personally, academically and professionally.

It will take all of us working together and being thoughtful to keep each other safe and have a successful return to campus.

Campus preparations

On campus, crews have been busy building and installing protective barriers for classrooms and common areas, thoroughly cleaning residence halls and apartments, installing signage to remind everyone to follow health practices to keep themselves and others safe, and making other preparations while preserving the campus atmosphere.

Classrooms, which are being arranged for physical distancing, are also being equipped with video technology, and faculty are adapting teaching methods so that remote learning, if necessary for quarantine or otherwise, does not mean reduced learning.

We are working hard to ensure that you will still be able to enjoy many aspects of campus life, like using the Physical Activities Center, while observing safe practices as advised by federal and state health authorities.

Housing and Dining

Adjustments are being made in residential common areas, and students are expected to practice healthy habits in all areas of campus. We ask that you and your families remain flexible as some housing assignments may change as we allocate adequate quarantine spaces and as we learn about students who may need special accommodations.

Because of our limited housing options, students who test positive for COVID-19, or who need to quarantine for 14 days because of exposure should plan to return home if able, otherwise the university will assist the student in identifying an appropriate accommodation.

The Dining Hall has been rearranged to reduce seating and to comply with physical distancing, and it will only serve students. The PalaDen will also provide to-go options. In addition, street food vendors, following proper health and safety practices, will operate on Milford Mall for lunch. Bon Appetit, our dining provider, will continue to provide the high quality, responsibly sourced food that sets Furman’s dining experience apart.

Because you are being asked to stay on campus as much as possible, some of you will see changes in dining plan options. We have restructured the meal plans to ensure that each student is provided at least one meal on campus for every day of the semester.

Students who live in residence halls without kitchens will be assigned the unlimited plan. Students living in North Village and The Vinings apartments will be pre-assigned to a higher-level plan, with the option to change. We made these changes based on previous years’ data that show students often run out of meals or food points before the end of the fall semester.

Tuition and fees

Changes to our dining plan options will be explained in more detail in your bill, which will be sent in the next week. Despite the university’s financial challenges, tuition is not increasing beyond the 2.47% that was scheduled before the pandemic, and fees will remain the same. Even though dining options have changed, the price for existing options have not.

We have been able to avoid additional increases by implementing other financial measures, including university-wide employee furloughs, reductions in salary for senior leadership, restricted university travel, and reduced budgets for departments across the university. These measures will be in place through at least Spring 2021. Campus housing and dining charges will not be refundable for students who temporarily leave campus to quarantine or isolate at home, and the university will not refund tuition for remote learning.

We know you may still have many questions, and new questions may arise as the situation evolves. In early August, we will hold virtual town hall meetings for students and families to update you on our plans and answer your questions. More information on these forums will be provided soon. In the meantime, please continue to visit our Furman Focused website for the latest information.

Thank you for your continued commitment to Furman University. We are, and will remain, committed to ensuring that all of our students achieve their academic goals and personal success. This pandemic threatens the health of virtually everyone around the world, but it cannot threaten our spirit and determination to carry out our academic mission. Through our collective commitment to the wellness of all, we will come through this even stronger and wiser.

I look forward to seeing you soon.


Elizabeth Davis