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Follow-up to President Smith's Recent Announcement

Dear Students, Parents, and Families,

I am writing to provide additional information in light of President Smith’s message earlier today stating that the remainder of the semester will be conducted remotely and that the campus will not resume normal operations this academic year. 

We understand that this decision raises many practical questions for you about moving out of your rooms and retrieving your personal belongings from campus. We are actively working to develop a detailed plan to manage move-out and establish a process through which we can assist with packing, shipping, and/or storing items for those of you who will not be able to come to campus in person to retrieve your belongings. I ask for your patience and understanding for the next 48 hours while we continue to assist students who are still on campus and trying to get home/off campus.

In the meantime, please note the following:

  • The official residence hall closing date for the semester for all students is May 25. As such, there is no urgency to remove all of the belongings from your room. Details on when you will be able to return to campus to pick up your belongings are forthcoming in the days ahead. Please note: You may not return to campus without coordinating with the OSE move-out team
  • Those of you who have already requested to come to campus to retrieve items from your room on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday of this week, please be in contact with the move-out team by emailing In an effort to continue to support social distancing, the OSE move-out team will confirm the date and time of your scheduled move-out. When emailing, please include your name, room number, and approximate date/time of your request to visit campus. Again, you may not return to campus without coordinating with the OSE move-out team.
  • We are eager to assist you but want to ensure that this process occurs in an orderly fashion that honors the principles of social distancing to protect you and the community to the best extent possible.
  • For those of you who have requested assistance in mailing needed items from your room, we will do our best to help you get items as soon as possible but must work within the guidance we are receiving from state and federal authorities about business operations. More information will be forthcoming.
  • At this time, the OSE is not able to accept 2020 Summer Housing Applications. 
  • The OSE has paused the Fall 2020 Housing Lottery. More information about this process will be shared in the future.

This is a complex, unprecedented situation. And we greatly appreciate your flexibility, patience, and understanding as we work through all of these questions. Again, I want to reiterate that we will send a more detailed communication by Thursday regarding move-out and scheduling plans for getting your personal belongings back to you. 

In the meantime, I would echo the sentiments conveyed today by President Smith. I am just so profoundly sorry that we find ourselves in this moment and for the previously unimaginable ways it is altering your college experience. I am certain, though, that we will draw on our collective strength, imagination, and good will to develop avenues for the kind of deep connection, intellectual engagement, and personal growth that are the hallmarks of a Swarthmore education.

Thank you for your strength and your patience. We will be back in touch on Thursday.

Jim Terhune
Vice President and Dean of Students