Our Plan to Reopen, In Light of COVID-19
Welcoming Back Students With Health and Safety at the Forefront

Franciscan University of Steubenville plans to welcome new and returning students to the fall 2020 semester beginning with New Student Orientation, August 20-23. The first day of classes and the Convocation and Opening of the School Year Mass will be on Monday, August 24.

A University-wide task force is developing plans for students, faculty, and staff to return to campus and resume academic learning and co-curricular life in a safe manner. More information will be available as it is developed throughout summer on this page.

The task force is considering the following:
  • Educating students, staff, and faculty about ongoing health care, prevention and self-monitoring.
  • Decreasing density in classrooms, dining facilities, and other public spaces on campus.
  • Intensifying cleaning and disinfecting schedules and procedures.
  • Protocols and capacity for testing of students who may present with symptoms, and arrangements for isolation and quarantine as necessary.
  • Provisions to enable Masses and sacramental ministry, residence life, athletics, student clubs and activities, and other aspects of our one-of-a-kind student culture to take place.

These plans are being developed in consultation with local health officials and in compliance with state and local health guidelines.

Updates will be posted below

Franciscan Colored Seal
Update: June 23, 2020

Franciscan University is planning for the arrival of our new students for Orientation Weekend on August 20-23. We cannot wait to welcome our new students into Franciscan’s one-of-a-kind intellectual and faith community. This fall’s Orientation will likely be more unique than ever as we make adjustments related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s what we know right now:

  1. New Student Orientation is still scheduled to begin on Thursday, August 20.
  2. New resident students will move into their residence halls that day on a staggered schedule throughout the entire day.
  3. Our first Orientation session for all new students will be on Thursday evening.
  4. Parents and siblings are normally welcome to join their new students throughout the weekend—this year we will need to limit the number of family members that will be allowed to join each new student during Orientation activities. We will be sharing more about these limits later in the summer.
  5. New students will likely be required to have their temperatures and symptoms checked upon arrival.
  6. We will do everything we can to provide the same information and assistance and family-like atmosphere that has always marked our Orientation Weekends—but this might happen a bit differently than it has in the past.
  7. We will communicate more information as it becomes more clear throughout the rest of the summer. Some of the details for the weekend might not be worked out until August as we adjust to changing circumstances and to evolving regulations and guidance from various entities.
  8. We are very excited for our new students to arrive!

Thanks for your patience and understanding. Further updates will be posted here, and on the Orientation website.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at orientation@franciscan.edu with any questions.

Update: June 18, 2020

As we plan for the unique circumstances of the fall 2020 semester, Franciscan University strives to provide a dynamic and engaging setting that fosters effective student learning, ongoing conversion and holiness, and personal relationships and community life, all in the context of a safe environment for students, staff, faculty, and guests.

To advance these goals, the University has adjusted its Fall 2020 Academic Calendar and has also prepared a Backup Plan in the event of a COVID-19 resurgence in the fall. As recent months have shown, patience and flexibility will be required by all as we continue to adjust to circumstances as they evolve.

Fall 2020 Revised Academic Calendar

  1. The first day of classes has been moved ahead one day to Monday, August 24 (from Tuesday, August 25).
  2. Fall break has been cancelled; classes will be held on Thursday, October 29, and Friday, October 30.
  3. Thanksgiving break will still be observed from Wednesday, November 25, through Sunday, November 29, although students will be able to stay on campus during Thanksgiving break.
  4. The last two days of classes will be Monday and Tuesday, November 30 and December 1.
  5. Exams will begin on Thursday, December 3; the last day of exams will be Tuesday, December 8.

Download this revised schedule as a pdf.

This Revised Academic Calendar allows students to complete the semester and final papers and exams in person, as part of our Franciscan University community. At the same time, it will reduce student travel over fall break, and it sets the stage for the possible activation of the Fall 2020 Backup Plan.

Fall 2020 Backup Plan

The University will monitor developments related to COVID-19 throughout the semester and, as circumstances warrant, may implement a Backup Plan that will end in-person instruction on Tuesday, November 24, before Thanksgiving. The final two days of classes will be made up through online or Saturday classes in November; final exams will be conducted through online or remote modalities. Depending on the circumstances, resident students may be required to leave for Thanksgiving break and not return to University housing. The University plans to determine whether or not to activate the Fall 2020 Backup Plan by Friday, October 23.

The Fall 2020 Academic Calendar Revisions and Backup Plan allow the University to plan for a relatively normal conclusion to its fall 2020 semester, which includes the opportunity for students to finish classes, research and write papers, and study and take final exams in the context of our supportive University community. At the same time, the University is prepared to respond by concluding in-person instruction by Thanksgiving and conducting final exams online or through alternative modalities in the event of a COVID-19 resurgence.

Questions You May Have

No. As of now, Franciscan University still plans to conduct New Student Orientation from Thursday, August 20, through Sunday, August 23. Get Orientation Information Here.

Returning resident students will be able to check in to University housing on Saturday, August 22, or Sunday, August 23. More specific arrival information and instructions for returning resident students will be communicated later in the summer.

Yes. Resident students are able to remain in University housing over Thanksgiving break. There will be no charge to stay, provided students communicate with their Residence Director in a timely manner. Limited dining services on campus will be available over Thanksgiving break for an additional charge.

Resident students must check out of University housing 24 hours after their last final exam, and no later than Wednesday, December 9, at Noon.

Room and board charges will not be adjusted under the Revised Academic Calendar. If the University activates the Backup Plan, prorated room and board will be considered if the University closes University housing in addition to concluding in-person instruction.

The University wants to provide the opportunity for students to experience a fall 2020 semester as normally as reasonably possible. This includes the opportunity to finish classes, to research and write papers, and to study and take final exams with the physical presence and support of fellow students, faculty, friars, and staff. Nevertheless, the University is also prepared to conclude in-person classes by Thanksgiving if necessary.

Fall break is normally a time for students to take a deep breath, relax, and catch up on academic work. However, this year the University is preparing for the possible implementation of the Backup Plan by completing as many class days as possible earlier in the semester. Also, the elimination of fall break this year will reduce the amount of student, staff, and faculty travel during the semester, thereby reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 being brought to campus by returning travelers.