Atlanta HBCUs move to all-virtual classes for fall semester

ATLANTA — Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University students will not return to campus when classes start this fall.

The Atlanta historically Black colleges and universities made the announcement Monday that they will continue remote learning for the semester.

The school presidents all cited the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Atlanta and states where many students are from led to the decision.

No decisions have been made about the spring 2021 semester.

“As much as I wanted to see the men of Morehouse return to campus for classes on Aug. 19, the spike in COVID-19 cases in Georgia and across the nation, warrants us to change course to protect the health and safety of Morehouse students, faculty, and staff,” Morehouse president Dr. David A. Thomas said. “Many of our target enrollment areas are facing outbreaks. And as families use their summer vacation to travel both locally and out of state, Morehouse could not guarantee the well-being of our community for in-person instruction, even with the rigorous safety protocols that we were planning. I believe that continuing online learning is our most prudent path forward.”


Classes for Morehouse will be taught online from Aug. 19 through the end of finals, Nov. 20, with no fall break.

Morehouse said most residence houses on campus will remain closed, except for one that will be available for international students and others who have a critical need for housing.

Spelman originally planned to return to in-person classes, but recent data concerned officials.

“You may ask why? Why did Spelman change its decision less than three weeks after making the announcement? It was just 19 days ago, on July 1, when we published our plan, fully anticipating that, as summer progressed, the virus would subside. Quite the opposite has been the case. An honest appraisal of the evolving facts compelled us to change course,” Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell said in a statement.

Spelman will offer a 10% discount on tuition and an average of 40% on mandatory fees.

Clark Atlanta planned to reopen the campus for freshman and sophomore students and to provide remote and online learning for juniors, seniors and graduate students. .

“However, with the challenging and rapidly changing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become crystal clear that these plans must evolve again to recognize the newly heightened safety risks associated with COVID-19 in the state of Georgia. The health and safety needs of our students, faculty, and staff remain our top priority and have been a reference point for our planning for the fall. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I share we have made the difficult but necessary decision to move to a remote and online learning format for the entire CAU student body in the fall, with faculty and staff continuing to telework,” said Clark Atlanta president Dr. George T. French, Jr.

Classes will run from Aug. 19 to Nov. 20.

Each undergraduate and graduate student financially enrolled will receive a free Dell laptop. The university will also discount tuition by 10% with mandatory fees lowered to $325.