GCU resumes in-person instruction for spring semester
(Jan. 13, 2021) – Grand Canyon University is kicking off 2021 with its largest-ever spring semester enrollment and the same commitment to in-person instruction on its campus. Approximately 20,250 students are enrolled for the spring, including 3,500 traditional students and 1,400 evening cohort students who have chosen to attend the University completely online.
In addition, approximately 90,000 mostly working adult students are enrolled in GCU’s online campus, with roughly half of those studying at the graduate level.
The spring semester on GCU’s ground campus began Jan. 4 with one week of online classes for the vast majority of academic programs in order to provide more flexibility for students traveling back to Phoenix after the holidays. In-person instruction resumed this week with the same hybrid learning model that was successful in the fall – classrooms at 40-50% capacity to create appropriate physical distancing, mandatory face mask requirements and alternating in-person and remote learning days in order to lessen the risks of COVID-19 infections among students and faculty.
The number of on-campus residential students, which typically declines by about 8% in the spring semester because of students graduating in December, actually has increased for the spring 2021 semester. There are approximately 11,600 students living on campus in the spring semester, an increase of 160 from the fall.
“A number of traditional ground students who had opted for an online-only learning environment in the fall have decided to return to campus this spring,” said GCU President Brian Mueller. “Our faculty and staff did a tremendous job of not only creating safe classroom and laboratory settings but also incorporating social events on campus in a COVID-friendly manner that provided opportunities for students to interact in a controlled environment. By keeping students engaged on campus, it lessens the risk of students seeking social activities on their own off campus where precautions are not in place and exposure to the virus is much more likely.
“Through contract tracing, we found that the majority of positive coronavirus cases with students occurred either off campus or within smaller gatherings indoors where they were in close proximity for prolonged periods without wearing a mask.”
Students and families still have the option of choosing a learning modality that best suits their individual circumstances. Students in most academic programs can choose to take classes completely online or via a hybrid learning model on campus. Nearly 5,000 traditional ground students chose to attend 100% online in the fall. With additional students choosing to return to campus, that number is down to about 3,500 in the spring.
To further limit potential on-campus exposure to COVID-19, in lieu of a mid-semester spring break, students will have the opportunity to take spring break if they desire at the end of the semester. In-person instruction will end April 1 for about 80% of classes, followed by two weeks of online instruction April 5-16. Spring break follows April 19-25, and the spring term ends April 25.
Three-day weekends will be incorporated into the schedule in January (MLK Day, 1/18), February (Presidents Day, 2/15), March (Spring weekend, 3/19) and April (Good Friday, 4/2) to provide students with breaks from their studies.
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About Grand Canyon University: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is Arizona’s premier private Christian university. GCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers 270 academic programs, emphases and certificates for both traditional undergraduate students and working professionals. The University’s curriculum emphasizes interaction with classmates, both in-person and online, and individual attention from instructors while fusing academic rigor with Christian values to help students find their purpose and become skilled, caring professionals. For more information, visit gcu.edu.