U of M president proposes delaying move-in for students in fall; transitioning to increased distance learning

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel on Friday said she’s proposed delaying move-in for students by at least two weeks for the Twin Cities, Duluth and Rochester campuses this fall.

In a letter from Gabel to students, faculty and staff, Gabel said the Board of Regents will consider her proposals at a special meeting on Monday.

She said delaying move-in dates for university housing would provide additional time to evaluate new and emerging testing guidance, and would allow officials to further evaluate techniques used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

For international students or those who believe university housing is the safest option, Gabel said the university would work with those students to ensure they have a place to stay on campus.

Undergraduate courses for all three campuses would still proceed as scheduled but would be completely online for at least two weeks, with some limited exceptions. Graduate and professional students would also continue as communicated with their programs.

While Gabel proposed delaying move-in dates for those three campuses, she said move-in for university housing in Crookston will continue as scheduled and on-campus students in Morris should remain on campus with classes proceeding as scheduled at both campuses. Gabel noted reported cases in those two communities are lower than other areas of Minnesota and transmission is expected to be lower.

For all U of M campuses, Gabel said student employees can and should continue to report for work unless told otherwise by their manager.

In the letter, Gabel also encouraged students and staff to set a positive example by wearing a face covering and following safety guidelines, noting that everyone’s actions "significantly impact our ability to move forward" and return to campus.

"This is not the message I had hoped to send, but we are learning from our peers and tracking the change in testing protocols—and we are seeing how both impact our commitment to safety," Gabel said.

Her proposals are still pending the board’s approval.