April 29, 2020: Planning for the 2020-21 Academic Year

Dear University of Richmond Community,

As I write, our students are taking their final exams at the end of an unprecedented spring semester, while the University is engaged in planning for the 2020–21 academic year. The educational aspirations of our student body, along with the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty, remain the University’s highest priorities. Guided by these priorities, we are intent on returning to a residential education this fall. Our commitment to support vigorously the University’s academic mission by providing a high-quality, personalized educational experience for our students is unwavering.

The seriousness and fluidity of the global and national health crisis reminds us that our plans remain subject to change and that guidelines from government and public health agencies will be essential factors in our planning. Likewise, progress on testing, health monitoring, treatments, vaccines, and strategies that mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be critically important.

The University’s planning efforts at this point are both purposely expansive and squarely aimed at ensuring that our students will be able to earn a full year of academic credit. We are also committed to sustaining as many of the personal and residential hallmarks of a UR education as possible. Specifically:

  • We intend to complete a full academic year of on-campus instruction beginning in fall 2020. This may require adjustments to our operations and academic calendar.
  • To ensure safety and continuity, we are developing a multi-pronged approach to enhance our community’s capacity and resilience to manage COVID-19 challenges.
  • In order to align with government and public health guidance and/or mandates, we are working through scenarios that allow for flexibility and adjustments to teaching and campus life as needed.
  • Only if necessary will we consider remote learning. If we must pivot to this scenario, we will provide high-quality remote learning and the developmental, social, and career supports that help our students to grow and thrive at UR and beyond.

We recognize that students, families, staff, and faculty need timely information to make plans. So please know we will communicate regularly about University decisions impacting our students and academic mission. Making prudent, wise, and informed decisions requires time to collect relevant information amid enormous flux and uncertainty. We are grateful for your patience as we identify, plan, and prepare for a range of options. As we strive to provide timely progress updates, we also invite you to visit our dedicated COVID-19 website for updates and answers to frequently asked questions.

Thank you all for working with us on Richmond’s exceptional education. As I have often said of late, Richmond is such a special place because of you. I wish each of you and your families safety, good health, and moments of calm during these difficult times.


Ronald A. Crutcher