Winter Term Move-In, Face-to-Face Classes Delayed

The following message was sent by President John Fry to the Drexel community announcing a delay for winter term move-in and face-to-face classes.

Dear Students and Colleagues,

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have consistently relied on public health expertise and scientific evidence to inform our strategy in creating the safest possible environment at Drexel.  As changes in our plans were driven by health and safety concerns, our students, faculty and professional staff have shown great adaptability and resilience. Today, I must ask you once again to remain flexible.

Based on new city and state guidance, the University will be postponing the move-in to campus housing from January 4. Along with this change, the University will postpone the start of face-to-face instruction. Thus, remote instruction will begin as planned on January 11, student move-in days will start January 16, and in-person classes will begin January 25.

This delay on short notice is in response to a request from the Philadelphia health commissioner based on concerns about post-holiday COVID-19 transmission. Although the commissioner, Thomas Farley, MD, MPH, acknowledges that Drexel’s winter term plan had full, early approval from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH), he reports that the current spike in coronavirus cases in Philadelphia has significantly decreased hospital capacity rates, leading to his concern that students returning so soon after the holidays could be exposed to the virus or infected. Farley is concerned that this could lead to outbreaks on campus or in the surrounding areas of the city and requests a minimum two-week delay in on-campus activity.  

We have taken all steps to mitigate the risk of disease transmission and we have a robust testing plan in place. While we are confident in our ability to operate as planned, and we understand that this shift may create some challenges for our community, we firmly believe it is our obligation to follow what the city has asked us to do in order to keep our students, faculty, and professional staff as safe as possible.

Additional information regarding Drexel’s winter term can be found below:

Student Housing

  • Students who had planned on moving into campus housing the week of January 4 will now be doing so beginning on January 16. Students will receive an adjustment on their eBill by the end of January for their housing and dining charges to reflect the change in the calendar.
  • During the remote-learning period starting January 11, students are strongly discouraged from returning to campus, off-campus locations, as well as joining any group gatherings.
  • Further information will be sent to any students with a housing or dining contract in the next 24-48 hours.

Medicine, Nursing and Law Programs

  • Those students in select professional programs will return to campus for their remote academic programs as currently scheduled.
  • Individuals within programs at the College of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies, the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Kline School of Law will be contacted by their academic leaders with more information.


On-campus research-related activities will continue to operate in accordance with health and safety protocols and strict guidelines. 

Faculty and Professional Staff 

Please note that the University will remain open for faculty and professional staff during the remote learning period. Many faculty and professional staff will return on January 4, as planned. However, department heads will provide guidance to individuals who may now be delayed until a later date. We ask that individuals work with their manager to determine their individual return date.  

Faculty and professional staff teleworking and scheduled for spring return should continue without interruption, unless instructed otherwise by their manager.

The prior communication regarding mandatory baseline testing beginning January 11 for faculty and professional staff has been modified to accommodate the varying return dates. Faculty and professional staff will have access to screening COVID-19 testing every other week throughout the term. Additional testing information will be provided in January.

In the upcoming weeks, the Return Oversight Committee will continue to provide updates and additional details regarding the winter term. We encourage everyone to continue to visit Drexel’s Response to Coronavirus website for the latest information.

Please know that this delay, while not ideal, is in the best interest of our community’s well-being and the greater public health. We must do all we can to ensure we take care of ourselves and each other, now more than ever, in the challenging months ahead.


John Fry