Updates on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Grand Canyon University is closely monitoring and responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and following the guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of Arizona, the City of Phoenix and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. The health and safety of GCU’s students, faculty and staff are of utmost importance, and GCU has enacted specific policies and safety measures to mitigate those risks for the 2020-21 academic year.

GCU has options for all students to either continue or start their academic journey in a learning modality that best suits their individual circumstances. If there are students who have underlying health conditions, have family members who are high-risk COVID-19 candidates or simply feel uncomfortable living and studying in a dense campus population, we will support that by providing options to allow them to continue their coursework online in most academic programs for the fall semester or even the entire 2020-21 academic year.

For those who are comfortable being back on campus in the fall, they will join a welcoming, robust community operating under the Arizona health guidelines that exist in the fall. The GCU Communications and FAQs on this page outline some of those regulations, which will be re-evaluated and adjusted throughout the semester based on guidance from health officials relating to COVID-19 conditions at the time and in accordance with federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations

Recent Communications from GCU

Frequently Asked Questions

General

The Grand Canyon University campus remains open for the fall semester under health guidelines issued by the CDC and Arizona health authorities. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on June 29 signed an executive order that prohibits large public gatherings and pauses the operations of bars, gyms, movie theaters, water parks and tubing rentals for at least one month. Gov. Ducey also delayed the start of in-person learning at K-12 schools until Aug. 17, 2020. In addition, the City of Phoenix and Maricopa County have joined many other Arizona cities and mandated that face masks be worn in public. GCU has adopted policies and procedures that adhere to these health regulations in an effort to keep students, faculty and staff as safe as possible. GCU will re-evaluate and adjust these guidelines during the fall semester based on guidance from health officials relating to COVID-19 conditions at the time and in accordance with federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations.

To create the safest environment possible and also better replicate the on-campus experience that GCU is known for, classes will begin Sept. 8 in an online modality for the first three weeks of the semester. Students will then return to campus for an in-person blended model of instruction beginning Sept. 28 through the end of the semester, which will culminate on Dec. 18.

There will be no increases in tuition or health/activity fees. GCU is hiring additional faculty due to smaller class sizes, hiring additional instructional assistants to assist with online support in the blended learning model being implemented for the fall semester, and adding mental health counselors and nurses at the Health and Wellness Clinic. GCU is also investing in additional COVID-19 testing procedures, sanitization supplies, personal protective equipment and plastic barriers, as well as converting the GCU Hotel into a facility in which to isolate or quarantine individuals who become ill and provide health care and food services for them. There are also additional costs incurred as the result of modifications and implementations to activities and events on campus. We estimate these costs will be in excess of $7 million for the fall semester. The University is absorbing those costs and will not pass them on to students.

The length of the semester remains the same. However, the start date is being pushed back two weeks to Sept. 8, and the end date will be extended one week to Dec. 18. Students will begin their classes in an online format from their homes for the first three weeks of the semester. Students will then return to campus for an in-person, physically distant blended model of instruction beginning Sept. 28 through the end of the semester, with residential Move-In the week of Sept. 21. Classes will be held Monday through Wednesday during the week of Thanksgiving, after which the semester will continue with in-person blended instruction through the end of the semester on Dec. 18.

For some students, due to the nature of their academic program, they will need to return to campus earlier. Those students will be notified by the deans of their respective college.

In order to complete the semester by Dec. 18, classes will be held on Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday of Thanksgiving week. Students are highly encouraged to remain on campus during the ensuing four-day break and avoid travel to other parts of the country, which can lead to spread of the coronavirus. Holiday meals and activities will be planned on campus during the break. GCU is encouraging all students to understand their home state’s strict travel rules, as students may have to serve a 14-day quarantine, impacting your ability to return to campus.

Students living on campus will have their fall semester housing costs reduced pro-rata due to the modifications in move-in dates. Scholarship amounts will stay the same except for those that are tied to on-campus housing. Those calculations will also reflect pro-rata amounts.

This chart reflects price reductions to housing rates, notwithstanding any related on-campus scholarship adjustments that would reflect pro-rata adjustments as well.

Students will also be able to reduce their meal plan allotments since they will be on campus for a shorter period of time. 

Because students will be on campus fewer days during the semester, service hours will be pro-rated accordingly.

GCU expects to be able to provide eligible fall semester ground traditional students approximately $500 in CARES Act stimulus funds after the semester begins.

GCU was allotted $22.3 million in CARES Act funds as part of an economic stimulus bill passed by Congress in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. GCU has distributed the student portion, which represented 50% of the $22.3 million allotment to those spring semester students who were eligible per the stipulations outlined by the Department of Education to reimburse students for disruption to campus operations due to COVID. Universities are permitted to use the remaining 50% (in our case $11.175 million) to cover their own expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. GCU expects to incur in excess of $11.175 million in COVID-related losses, but the University will use the institutional portion of the CARES Act funds it has been allocated to directly benefit students as well. That includes the direct grant of approximately $500 as mentioned above for all eligible fall semester ground traditional students to help them absorb costs related to disruption of campus operations in the fall semester. We expect those checks to be issued in late September in early October after the add/drop period of the semester. Guidance is being finalized by the Department of Education and more information on this will be provided in the next few weeks.

All fall semester ground traditional students are eligible provided they meet all other federal eligibility requirements and unless otherwise clarified by the Department of Education prior to disbursement. This includes incoming freshmen, transfer students and students who choose to take ground classes in an online format during the fall semester due to the ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19.

International students and DACA students do not qualify for CARES Act funds per the Department of Education because they are not Title IV eligible and are otherwise ineligible under another federal law that prohibits certain non-U.S. citizens from receiving federal public benefits. Accordingly, GCU will be requiring students to demonstrate their eligibility by having a FAFSA on file to qualify for the payment.

CDC recommends that institutions of higher education should not make any decisions about school dismissal or cancellation of school events in isolation. Those decisions should be made in coordination with local health officials and should be considered on a case-by-case basis using information from health officials about the local conditions. Those conditions vary from state to state and can include factors such as the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in their particular region, community populous and transportation modes, and learning modality options available.

A 50% pro rata credit on housing charges will be calculated based on a percentage of the semester remaining. This credit will be applied to any outstanding balances on the student’s account and any excess will be refunded. Unused Dining Dollars will roll to the next semester based on the amount paid (rolled over credit does not include any discount received as part of the plan purchased). Refunds of Dining Dollars will be provided for students who graduate in December and will therefore not be returning to campus the following semester. Parking fees, health fees, activity fees and other similar fees will not be credited or refunded. If a student chooses to leave campus while the campus remains open, published refund policies for all fees will apply.

Students should see very little impact by the change of start date. Loan periods will be adjusted to the new start date and disbursement dates will be adjusted accordingly.

The New Student Orientation required online module has a target launch date of Aug. 17. The module will address important information that all new students need to know. The parent and family online orientation module is also set to launch Aug. 17. Other orientation programs for new students include Welcome Week activities and orientation groups (o-groups).

Individual and small-group tours will continue during the day. Overnight Discover trips have been canceled indefinitely. The University does offer virtual GCU Live tours in a more expanded version for students who want a broader exposure to campus life. Visit https://www.gcu.edu/admissions/visit-gcu-campus for more information.

Coursework and Classroom Instruction

The first three weeks of the semester will take place online through LoudCloud, GCU’s robust learning management system. All coursework will remain the same. Starting the semester online will help students get off to a positive start academically as they can devote their complete focus to their studies during those three weeks before getting acclimated to life on a college campus. Students will also build confidence in the LoudCloud learning management system that will help them with blended instructional activities that will continue through the end of the semester.

GCU is incorporating a blended learning model in which most classrooms will be at 40-50% capacity to create appropriate physical distancing and lessen the risks of infection for students and faculty. This can be achieved by incorporating a blend of in-person instruction in which students will be assigned to receive face-to-face instruction from their faculty member one day per week, accompanied by a second day of synchronous learning that will occur remotely through LoudCloud. This second day of remote instruction will occur in the same time slot of the corresponding day. Additional learning will occur through other technologies that faculty will assign based on those specific course outcomes.

If COVID-19 conditions improve significantly during the fall semester, we will transition back to our normal academic model in the spring semester.

Courses will maintain the same curriculum, the same continuity of instruction and learning, and the same educational outcomes. To ensure that all classes receive the same amount of in-person instruction from their professors, most classes will be scheduled for Tue/Thu, Wed/Fri, or Monday time slots. Students’ class schedules will be updated no later than Aug. 1 to reflect these changes.

For other courses that require more hands-on work in a laboratory environment, safe environments will be created to ensure that the coursework can be completed and all learning outcomes are achieved. Those requirements are specific to each college. More information regarding these courses will be forthcoming from the dean of each college.

GCU offers many student success resources including Walk to Class. These student-led live webinars introduce all incoming students to LoudCloud and how to use it. First Year Experience (FYE) LEADs walk the students through how to access their classes and go to all of the different areas of LoudCloud so students are more comfortable using the system when they access their classes in September. Because the webinar is live, students can ask any questions they may have. The webinar also goes over how to get support if students have questions once the semester starts. By building confidence in the LoudCloud learning management system the first three weeks of the semester, students will be fully prepared for blended instructional activities that will last the entire semester.

GCU will make every effort to make reasonable accommodations for students to continue their coursework and complete classes remotely while in quarantine. Requests for accommodation will be reviewed on an individual basis by Student Disability Services pursuant to the University Policy Handbook. In order to request reasonable accommodations through Student Disability Services, students must have initially reported the exposure or illness to the GCU Health and Wellness Clinic. For some specific classes (i.e., clinicals, labs, field experience) that require in-person participation, accommodations may be difficult to replicate online or make up, and students’ coursework may be affected.

Students have the option of choosing to continue their coursework for most programs in an online modality for the fall semester or even the entire 2020-21 academic year. Exceptions are nursing and other laboratory-intensive programs due to the hands-on nature of those programs. For students who choose an online modality in the fall, it is highly likely we will still be able to provide housing for them in the spring semester if they would like to return at that time.

Incoming students who are not yet familiar with LoudCloud, GCU’s state-of-the-art Learning Management System, can experience what that is like by visiting lms.gcu.edu and by participating in Walk To Class webinars. These platforms give students a unique experience of what learning in GCU’s online modality entails.

Pre-nursing students will begin their courses the same time as most students with online classes beginning on Sept. 8 and in-person classes on Sept. 28.

Nursing and athletic training students who have gone through the secondary acceptance process and are in the clinical rotation of their programs will need to return to campus earlier if clinical partners have granted access to their sites. Students who need to return early will be notified by the deans of their respective college.

The College of Doctoral Studies is continuing to host on-site residencies, with a focus on safety for students, faculty and staff. Residencies have been shifted to an off-campus location in Phoenix; class sizes have been cut in half to ensure proper physical distancing; students are provided face masks for their use both in and out of the classroom in accordance with local health requirements; hand sanitizer dispensers are located throughout the classroom space, with enhanced cleaning protocols after hours; and meals are individually prepared.

We understand that individual circumstances do vary, so there are options to extend time frames for residency requirements. Contact your Student Services Counselor for more information.

GCU is a recognized leader nationally in online education and has invested millions of dollars in a proprietary, state-of-the-art learning management system (LoudCloud) for both online and in-person learning. This robust learning management system supported a seamless and effective transition to remote learning during the unexpected onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition to remote learning in the middle of the Spring 2020 semester was very successful because of 1) the flexibility and features of LoudCloud, 2) GCU’s expertise in using a variety of supplemental technologies to achieve learning outcomes, and 3) the training and experience of GCU’s professors in online learning. As a result, student success rates (which were already high at 88.9% in the Spring of 2019) actually increased slightly to 89.8% in the Spring of 2020 and students were still able to earn their letter grades rather than default to a pass/fail system. This GCU student shared her experience in a recent Instagram post.

Blended learning is not new at GCU; many faculty members have been incorporating it into their classrooms for the last six years. Blended learning offers synchronous face-to-face instruction in combination with a remote deeper learning experience. Interestingly, many learners at GCU expressed how much they prefer a blended class over an online class or traditional in-person class.

During the first three weeks of the Fall 2020 semester, most learners will be in classes that are fully online. Participation is required and will count toward a student’s overall semester grade. In conjunction with a robust learning management system like LoudCloud, students experience synchronous learning through video conferencing, where students don’t simply stare at a PowerPoint presentation but engage in teamwork to support social learning among peers. Additionally, professors will engage with their learners individually and provide a variety of class activities during online sessions. This type of learning experience is reflected in both online and blended learning environments where student engagement is stressed to enhance the same writing and critical thinking skills as in-person classes. The course content is consistent across all learning environments and adheres to a continuity of instruction and learning with the same educational outcomes. GCU students also have access to one-on-one remote tutoring by appointment with an Instructional Assistant in the GCU Math Center, Writing Center and English Language Learner Center, or a student LEAD in the Academic and Career Excellence (ACE) Center.

After experiencing GCU’s online capabilities, many on-campus students choose to take online classes during the summer to save money and speed up the time toward their degree completion.

Unfortunately, no. The face to face -- or physical component -- of the course has a physical distance requirement that decreases the class size of every section, compared to a non-COVID semester. To maintain safety for faculty and students, we cannot override the number of students in each section. Therefore, students who start online will have to maintain their online request for the semester. Students may request to return to the campus in the Spring 2021 term.

Yes, schedule changes can occur without a fee within two weeks of the start date of courses.

Yes, faculty on the ground campus are transitioning to the hybrid model. Additional faculty and instructional assistants will be hired due to the reduced class sizes and blended learning model.

Office hours for faculty will continue in a virtual model through Zoom conversations.

The Academic & Career Excellence Centers, Math Center, Writing Center, English Language Learners Center, Science Center, Theology Commons and Library will continue to operate to support students. Support areas will provide virtual academic and career support, by appointment, through Career Connections. If face-to-face appointments are required, personal protection equipment, physical distancing, sanitation guidelines and capacity limits will be incorporated.

Most summer classes (with the exception of laboratory-intensive programs such as nursing) have been moved online at reduced tuition rates so that students can stay on track or possibly shorten the amount of time necessary to complete their degree.

Evening cohort classes have been transitioned to the LoudCloud online learning environment through the end of the calendar year.

Facilities and Residence Halls

Our Food Services team is streamlining operations to serve students in a safe and sanitary manner and taking every precaution for the fall. In order to comply with city health regulations, this will include offering only take-out meals that students can either eat in an outdoor setting with fellow students or take back to their rooms. Food Services will follow every guidance from the CDC and/or state and federal authorities. The same food options will be available with an increase of grab-and-go options at most locations in order to compensate for physical distancing and to keep lines at a minimum. Also, our grocery store and convenience stores will have increased grab-and-go options and offer greater selections. These safety measures will be re-evaluated and adjusted based on the COVID-19 health regulations at the time.

Indoor areas such as the Student Union will be open as a study area or place to congregate if students are wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, but indoor dining is not permitted at this time. These regulations will be re-evaluated and adjusted based on the COVID-19 health regulations in the fall.

Residence hall living will be very typical, although physical distancing protocols will likely be incorporated in community areas such as lobbies, laundry areas, elevators, etc.

The Library will maintain the same hours during the fall semester -- 7 a.m.-2 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-2 a.m. weekends. Library staff will wear face masks and maintain physical distance protocols. Students visiting the Library are also expected to respect these safety practices. Seating on the Library floors will be adjusted to maintain safe distances. Library study rooms will be available for individual use only and not group study. Regular cleaning and sanitizing will take place, and sanitation stations will also be available for students.

The Ask-A-Librarian service continues to be available for research assistance via phone, email, chat and videoconferencing, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. weekends. Library resources, databases, articles, ebooks, research guides and tutorials are available online 24/7 and can be accessed at https://library.gcu.edu.

Workout facilities and swimming pools will be available for use according to CDC and local health authority guidelines. Physical distancing, density limits and extra cleaning routines will be in place. The use of fitness centers will be by appointment only. Workout sessions can be scheduled through the Campus Recreation page (myrec.gcu.edu-login with student credentials). Swimming pools also will be available only by appointment in order to limit capacity. Gov. Ducey’s June 29 executive order allows pools to remain open but limits gatherings within the pool to 10 people. Appointment procedures will be forthcoming.

These facilities will be open and available for students to study or congregate if they are wearing masks and practicing physical distancing. These regulations will be re-evaluated and adjusted based on the COVID-19 health regulations in the fall.

In order to maintain the safety of the GCU community and minimize potential spread of COVID-19, GCU’s current policy states that students are not permitted to have guests in their living areas. An exception is granted for a family member or friend who is actively assisting in unloading or loading a vehicle as part of the move-in/move-out process.

For more information, please review the Supplemental University Policy Handbook.

Yes, to give families more time to make a decision, the deadline has been extended from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15.

Because GCU is fortunate to have the vast majority of its buildings built within the last 10 years, our heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems meet modern standards for fresh air intake, filtration and circulation. We reviewed those setups to ensure we don’t have air circulation patterns that exacerbate virus spread. For the few older buildings on campus, we have adapted or are in the process of adapting the HVAC systems to allow greater fresh air intake and again will ensure air circulation patterns don’t aid in the spread of any virus.

GCU’s residence halls are expected to be at capacity. As such, the University has made the decision to close GCU Hotel effective July 1 so that it can be used as a facility in which to isolate or quarantine individuals who become ill and provide health care and food services for them. Students who have tested positive or have been in close contact with an individual who tests positive will be quarantined at the hotel, with blocks of rooms separating those who are positive from others who are quarantined as a precaution. Extreme sanitation protocols will also be in place. Families who have made reservations at GCU Hotel during the fall will be contacted and provided with names of nearby hotels as possible alternate accommodations.

The GCU Golf Course is open and adhering to recommendations from local, state and federal health officials. We are no longer taking cash payments. We are only allowing four (4) guests in the Pro Shop at a time and check-in is completed outside through our check-in window. Please follow the CDC recommendations and stay 6 feet apart at all times.

The Learning Lounge will continue to support our community’s K-12 students with virtual academic assistance Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. K-12 students can access the Learning Lounge by appointment or by contacting the Learning Lounge directly. The Students Inspiring Students full-tuition scholarship program will continue for students who meet the criteria.

Because of the size of our facility, we will be able to maintain physical distancing and still provide excellent customer service to our students, staff and faculty. Hours of operation are being extended to Monday-Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. once students return to campus. Mail Center staff will be wearing PPE (masks, face shields and gloves) and will sanitize continuously during the day. A deep cleaning will occur after hours.

During Move-In Week for your convenience, a “park and pick-up service” will be available in the first floor of the parking garage where the Mail Center is housed. Parents and students can park and proceed to the back of the Mail Center to pick up any linens and/or large or small packages.

After Move-In Week, students will pick up mail and packages as they have always done. As an additional service, and because of physical distancing, the back of the Mail Center will continue to operate as an additional entry point if overflow is needed. Students can also check their Student Engagement App to view lines at the Mail Center.

New Students/Welcome Week

Move-In will occur the week of Sept. 21. To honor this tradition but still adhere to physical distancing requirements, we will institute an Appointment Move-In process and offer the availability of small volunteer teams. Students will receive an email by Aug. 5 instructing them how to select or alter a Move-In appointment that best fits their schedule. Upon arrival, new students will be greeted by a team of 2-3 Student Leaders who will show new residents to their room and help them check in. Per the family’s preference, this team is also available to assist with unloading the vehicle and taking the student’s belongings to their room.

Students should choose a Move-In appointment that least conflicts with their online class schedule during that week. Online classes during the first three weeks of the semester do count toward your overall grade, but faculty will be understanding during Move-In week to ensure students can complete all necessary assignments.

Students should limit the number of people accompanying them for Move-In, especially if they have family members who are more at-risk to COVID-19, since we will be hosting people from all over the country that week. Those family members may also be required to wear a face mask per guidelines by the City of Phoenix and local health authorities. To reduce population density and exposure to others on campus, parents are asked to return home after Move-In and Orientation sessions are finished.

Several Welcome Week-type activities are being planned for Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26 to welcome students back to campus. More information on those will be forthcoming.

Family members or friends may actively assist in unloading or loading a vehicle as part of the Move-In process. However, students should limit the number of people accompanying them for Move-In, especially if they have family members who are more at-risk to COVID-19, since we will be hosting people from all over the country that week. Those family members will also be required to wear a face mask per guidelines by the City of Phoenix and local health authorities. To reduce population density and exposure to others on campus, parents are asked to return home after Move-In and Orientation sessions are finished.

Campus Life and Events

The CDC recommends that people wear face coverings in public settings and cites emerging evidence from 16 different clinical and laboratory studies that show face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth, which greatly reduces the spread of the virus. This recent study also supports that finding. Further, as the number of coronavirus cases in Arizona continues to increase daily, both Maricopa County and the City of Phoenix have voted to join many other Arizona cities and mandate that face masks be worn in public.

We are adhering to those guidelines by requiring masks to be worn in classrooms, restaurants and other indoor community spaces as well as outdoor settings where physical distancing of at least six feet is not possible. This includes common spaces such as elevators, lobbies, restrooms, meeting rooms, laundry rooms and crowded walkways. Students may remove face coverings within their dorm rooms or outdoor settings where physical distancing is possible.

In order to reopen the campus, we need participation and responsible action on everyone’s part for the greater good of the entire campus community. We have to be cognizant of faculty, staff and students who may be in a higher-risk category for COVID-19 and protect those who are more vulnerable. We are hopeful and confident that everyone will show the grace and compassion for one another that our Christian community is known for.

We will continue to evaluate face covering requirements as we get closer to the fall semester. Masks will be provided for every GCU student. You are also welcome to wear your own masks.

Gatherings such as Chapel, athletic contests, Welcome Week activities and social events such as Lope-a-palooza, Midnight Madness, Mr. GCU, Lip Sync, etc., are a hallmark of the GCU experience. Depending on guidelines at the time from the CDC, Arizona health authorities and the NCAA, those may be adjusted as necessary to reduce population density and ensure the health and safety of our campus community. Physical distancing and mask wearing could be components of events or spaces in which there are dense populations. Events may also be spread out over multiple venues, be held in outdoor settings or postponed until spring. For example, to create physical distancing, Chapel services may be spread out among several locations such as GCU Arena, Antelope Gym, Canyon Activities Center and the church. Those venues can accommodate up to 4,000 people in a physically distant manner. The Ignite ceremony, GCU’s traditional new student worship event during Welcome Week, is also being planned in this manner, resembling satellite venues that large churches use to expand their services.

Smaller gatherings such as Life group sessions and club activities may be limited to 10 people or fewer while adhering to health guidelines in existence at the time, such as face masks and physical distancing.

Large events will maintain physical distancing parameters and may require masks, depending on the venue and state health guidelines. Events that are held indoors will have capacity limits per venue. For example, Monday morning Chapel services will have live band performances in the Arena and the CAC. The worship message will be live streamed from the Arena to the CAC, Antelope Gym, the church and television monitors throughout campus. Events that are held outdoors will have greater capacity for attendance but might be scheduled later in the year to take advantage of more favorable weather conditions.

The Canyon Activities Board (CAB) staff is creating more virtual or “event-in-a-box” events to replace some of the physical events on campus. Each of the seven CAB teams is charged with creating one physical event and one virtual/event-in-a-box event per month. Examples of physical events are Lopes Live or movie nights in which there will be multiple showings at different venues. Commuter student events could also be spread among different venues. Examples of virtual or in-a-box events could be Tik Tok dance challenges on Instagram, online trivia games, paint parties via Facebook Live, dorm room crafts in a box, scavenger hunts via the GCU Engage App, or games with questions/props/snacks to do with roommates in their dorm. Special events still slated for the fall semester are Cabarama (a new music festival event) and Hanging of the Greens. Lip Sync and Mr. GCU are scheduled for the spring.

This event, traditionally scheduled in October, will be moved to the spring semester.

To protect students from possible coronavirus exposure or infection, we are temporarily halting local outreach efforts that require groups to go off campus until COVID-19 conditions allow for a more safe environment. Outreach efforts will instead be focused on our GCU campus to impact and educate students on both local and global outreach opportunities.

To protect students from possible coronavirus exposure or infection, travel restrictions will be in place during the fall semester. Club sports will continue to train/practice on campus while utilizing physical distancing and disinfecting protocols. Intramural sports in the fall semester will provide opportunities for athletic and competitive activities that provide physical distancing boundaries. Some of the activities that will be offered include tennis, corn-hole, pickle ball, e-sports, badminton, human foosball, golf and possibly softball. Other intramural sports will be moved to the spring.

Yes, all career networking events will occur in a virtual format and we are working with our industry partners to help them set up remote hiring events. There are walk-throughs and guides for students that will assist them with virtual hiring events.

Out of caution to keep our GCU volunteers, Habitat volunteers and the homeowners safe, all Operation Revival volunteer projects are temporarily suspended. If you have signed up for a project, you will be contacted directly with more information. GCU looks forward to joining together with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona to assess the appropriate steps to take in the coming weeks.

The GCU Commencement ceremonies scheduled in October for our online and evening cohort graduate candidates will move to a virtual Commencement celebration, instead of an in-person ceremony, on Oct. 17 at 10 a.m. For those of you who still wish to participate in an in-person ceremony and on-campus celebration, we will have more details soon about those opportunities in the Spring of 2021.

Due to the current COVID-19 conditions and health guidelines in Arizona, we are unable to bring Spring 2020 traditional ground student graduates and families back onto campus for an in-person commencement ceremony. We continue to hope that at some point in 2021 we can provide a safe on-campus celebration for our traditional ground student Spring 2020 graduates. We know how important and meaningful that would be for you, your family and friends. Please know we appreciate your continued patience as we look for a solution to honor your achievement.

After discussions with students, we have decided to host an in-person traditional commencement ceremony just for graduating seniors on Dec. 19* at GCU Arena. Health and safety guidelines will be in place, including physical distancing and required face coverings, and only graduate candidates may attend. This allows students to walk across the stage and celebrate their accomplishments with their classmates.

Given the current COVID-19 guidelines in Arizona, we still are unable to bring families and guests onto campus for large gatherings – in particular one that would safely assemble people from throughout the country. The commencement ceremony will be live streamed for family and friends to watch online.

 

*Dates, times and modalities of commencement ceremonies may be subject to change.

Online and Cohort graduates for Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 were recognized with a virtual commencement ceremony on Oct. 17. The ceremony is still viewable here: https://forms.gcu.edu/grand-canyon-university-virtual-commencement. For those of you who still wish to participate in an in-person ceremony and on-campus celebration, we will have more details soon about those opportunities, tentatively projected for the Spring of 2021.

Health

Active cases:

There are 184 positive COVID-19 cases connected to the GCU campus community. Of those, 178 are students and 6 are employees.

Since Aug. 1, 2020:

There have been 1,052 positive COVID-19 cases connected to the GCU campus community. Of those, 1,023 are students and 29 are employees.

All data last updated 11/22/2020

All GCU facilities (classrooms, administrative buildings, resident halls, athletic facilities, and food service) have received a deep cleaning and disinfecting over the summer. For the fall, we will use a multi-tiered approach starting with wiping and disinfecting touchpoints (door handles, counters, elevator buttons, etc.), common areas and restrooms multiple times throughout each day in every building. At night, our staff will clean and sanitize the facilities in greater detail, including the use of electrostatic spray guns for disinfecting. Lastly, we are providing cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer in classrooms and common areas across campus so students, faculty and staff can also clean desks, chairs and other items before and after use. Those living on campus will still be responsible for cleaning their individual rooms and suites.

Student-athletes and student leaders who arrive in advance of Welcome Week will be tested for the coronavirus, as it is likely they will be in closer contact during training sessions and other activities. Once the academic year begins, tests will also be made widely available for all students who voluntarily wish to be tested.

The CDC does not recommend that all students be tested upon arrival.

The GCU Health and Wellness Clinic will make tests widely available for all students who wish to be tested.

No, the Health and Wellness Clinic will submit under the student’s health plan and the uninsured will be covered under the CARES Act. If a quick test is done in the Health and Wellness Clinic, it will be covered with the visit copay.

Those students will be contacted ahead of their move-in date and scheduled to come to the testing stations. They will also be given the option to test before they arrive on campus. Advance testing should occur within two weeks of arrival and test results should be mailed to covidresults@gcu.edu.

The Student Care department is adding four new therapists to the staff and increased the physical size of the office space. This will greatly increase the opportunities for face-to-face crisis intervention. For face-to-face crisis meetings, physical distancing and the use of face masks may be utilized, depending on the directives from the CDC. As well, Student Care will provide increased tele-health opportunities for students who need ongoing treatment.

If you feel ill, the GCU Health and Wellness Clinic asks that you call ahead so their team can properly screen each individual prior to entering the clinic. Many of the visits can be done by Telehealth. If it is determined based on the telehealth visit that an in-person visit is necessary, staff will arrange for a safe in-person visit with one of their qualified medical professionals. If a student is seen in the Health Clinic, a mask will be required to enter. Upon entering the Health Clinic there will be a Kiosk with the necessary PPE for those that need it. You can contact the GCU Health and Wellness Clinic at 844-391-1949 or healthcenter@gcu.edu. If you are faculty or staff and experiencing these same symptoms, seek medical attention by calling a medical professional and do not come to work. Further instructions are available on LopeNet for faculty and staff. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, call 9-1-1 or seek immediate care at the nearest emergency room. If you have traveled to a CDC level 2 or 3 country, do not return to campus. GCU requires that you stay off-campus to complete the 14-day self-quarantine prior to returning.

If a student tests positive, contact tracing will occur and any students who have come in contact with the infected individual will also be tested. Affected individuals will be placed in quarantine or isolation and cared for, while reasonable accommodations will be made to continue their classroom instruction. Students who live in close proximity to GCU and Arizona may have the option to return home for quarantine or isolation after completing a public health evaluation. If a cluster of positive results is identified, we will do extensive testing in those areas.

If a roommate tests positive, the roommate will immediately be placed into isolation. Depending on the contact tracing done, others in the room may be quarantined as well.

If contacted by a public health agency, you must follow their quarantine procedures. If you have not yet returned to campus, GCU requires that you stay off-campus to complete the 14-day self-quarantine period prior to returning. Please contact the GCU Health and Wellness Clinic at 844-391-1949 or healthcenter@gcu.edu for further instructions.

If you have received notice of your exposure to a COVID-19 patient after you have returned to campus, immediately call the GCU Health and Wellness Clinic at 844-391-1949. Until you have spoken with healthcare professionals, maintain physical distancing rules. GCU will review your circumstances and determine a quarantine location.

Individuals are considered a close contact of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 if they live in the same household or are within 6 feet of distance for more than 10 minutes within 48 hours of the sick person’s onset of symptoms. GCU follows these protocols.

There will be hand sanitizer available in every building on campus and Student Affairs is working to get every student a complimentary small bottle. However, we encourage everyone to also bring their own.

GCU has taken a number of measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting common and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handles and elevator buttons in residential areas, classrooms, laboratories, restaurants and other high-traffic areas. Our cleaning supplies meet CDC and EPA recommended standards to aid in the prevention and spread of emerging viral pathogens and infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Additionally, we increased the amount of hand sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas. We are continuing an education campaign through social and print media outlining the steps students, faculty and staff can take to help stop the spread of germs. The best way to prevent illness during flu season is to take every-day preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

All international students returning to campus are required to self-isolate off campus for 14 days. For international students who do not have family or friends off-campus with which to quarantine, they will have the option to quarantine at GCU Hotel.

Given that no vaccine is currently available and there is no projected date for when that may occur, we have not been given any guidance from health authorities and have made no determination at this time.


Communications from GCU


Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Reporting

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was passed which authorized funding under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”) to Institutions of Higher Learning. These funds were divided into a “Student Portion” and “Institutional Portion”. The Student Portion is required to be provided as Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. The Institutional Portion is to be used to reimburse the University for costs it incurred related to disruption on campus. GCU is committed to using the Institutional Portion to provide additional student grants and other expenditures for the direct benefit of students.

Grand Canyon University signed and returned to the Department of Education its Certification and Agreement for the Student Portion on April 15, 2020, with our assurance that GCU has used or intends to use 100% of the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students funding for eligible students. The Department of Education allocated $11,175,699 to GCU for the Student Portion.

As of July 29, 2020, there were an estimated 18,000 students from spring 2020 eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (the “HEA”) and were potentially eligible to receive the Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. The University disbursed 17,946 emergency grant checks totaling $10,947,060.

In order to be considered for this grant, students attending the spring 2020 term must have been in an Active status within our Student Information System as of March 1, 2020, must have been enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program of study that was not offered in a 100% online modality, and must have met all Title IV eligibility requirements set forth in HEA Section 484. As we confirm students’ eligibility for Title IV funding, the estimated number of eligible Emergency Financial Aid Grant recipients has fluctuated. Recognizing that all eligible students experienced additional expenses due to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GCU determined that the most equitable way to disburse these grant funds to our students was to divide our total allocation by the estimated number of eligible students.

Information on the use of the Student Portion grant funds was communicated to students via a letter insert with the emergency grant check which informed students that this grant was to assist with any unforeseen expenses that may have been incurred as a result of the disruption of campus operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic such as expenses for food, housing, course materials and technology, health and childcare. Students for whom GCU was unable to confirm eligibility to receive a grant based on HEA Section 484 requirements have also been contacted to provide them an opportunity to demonstrate eligibility under HEA Section 484.

Subsequent to July 29, 2020, the University was able to validate students’ eligibility and additional Student Portion grants were distributed and others were returned to the University by students for various reasons. As of 9/30/2020, GCU has issued a total of 17,867 checks totaling $10,898,970 for the Student Portion for eligible students. The remaining funds will be disbursed to students by the end of December 2020.

The University is in the process of distributing the majority of the Institutional Portion as additional student grants to eligible students attending its ground campus in the Fall 2020 semester. That process should be completed by the end of December 2020. For more information regarding the University’s expenditure of the Institutional Portion, please see our report titled “Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Reporting Under CARES Act Section 18004(a)(1), 18004(a)(2), 18004(a)(3), if applicable” which is posted on this website.

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