Communication to Students and Families Regarding Residence Halls Closure

Sent March 17, 2020, 6:30 p.m.

Dear Gonzaga Students and Families:

Thank you for the patience and grace you have demonstrated during this challenging period as our nation and communities continue to respond to the dynamic and evolving public health crisis surrounding the spread of COVID-19. Further complicating matters for so many of our students is that numerous restrictions began to be imposed after most of you had departed Spokane for Spring Break. We understand that this has been a frustrating time; our hearts and thoughts have been with you. 

Because I want everyone in our community to be aware of major decisions or actions we are taking, I am sending this letter to all students and families, even though it most directly impacts those students who have been living on campus this semester.

Each day has brought new and more severe restrictions upon our ability as a university to provide the kind of experience that we seek for our students, and we anticipate these restrictions will increase and continue for some time to come. We had hoped to find a way to welcome students back to their on-campus housing; however, a succession of emergency declarations issued early this week have required all restaurants, entertainment facilities and recreational centers throughout Washington state to close, and reduced the number of attendees to no more than 50 (and preferably 0) at social events and gatherings. Even Bishop Daly has been compelled to suspend all public celebrations of the Mass until April. These latest orders, while appropriate from a public health standpoint, directly impact the way the University operates and provides housing and meals to our students.

Because of these public health directives and our concern for the well-being of the Gonzaga community, we cannot re-open the residence halls and thus have determined that our on-campus residential facilities will formally “close” for the semester on Friday, March 27th. For a list of impacted on-campus residential facilities, please refer to the attached FAQ.

At 5:00 p.m. on March 27th, ZagCard key access to all on-campus residential facilities will be “turned off.” However, so as to provide everyone with flexibility, we will provide all students the opportunity to make plans and arrangements to return and completely move out of their rooms no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 13th.

Please note:

  • We are making your faculty aware of the fact that many students may not have immediate access to academic and instructional materials (e.g., textbooks, articles, etc.) due to having left them behind before Spring Break. We have asked faculty to be prepared to support students who find themselves in this situation. 
  • If circumstances make returning to move out of your room by April 13th an impossibility, please contact the Housing Office at (509) 313-4103, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and we will work with you on making special arrangements to secure your belongings and check out of your room. Please contact Housing to make these arrangements prior to the April 13th move-out date. 
  • Refunds will be issued for room and meal plan charges for the remainder of the semester, informed by any remaining payments owed. Refunds will be issued no later than April 10th. We appreciate your patience as we undertake the work of calculating and processing refunds. 
  •  International students, housing-insecure students, and those who due to extenuating circumstances cannot leave campus may apply to remain in on-campus residence halls, and these requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Students who are approved to remain must agree to abide by a more restrictive set of standards for personal conduct, including behaviors intended to reduce the risk of viral transmission, and in certain cases may be relocated to another room on campus. University policies, including the Student Code of Conduct, Housing and Residence Life policies, and the Harassment and Discrimination Policy remain in effect and apply at all times. Students who seek permission to remain on campus and who fall into one of the above categories must submit a Request to Stay form on ZagLiving as soon as possible, but no later than Monday, March 23rd at 12:00 p.m. Noon (PDT).
  • At this time, Sodexo Zag Dining plans to continue to provide “grab and go” meal service from the COG, and currently plans to have both Starbucks and The Marketplace remain open. This is subject to change based on health district directives.

The Housing Office has developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which are attached to this communication and detail the specifics about check-out procedures. Please review these; we hope they will be helpful. 

The Housing Office has developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which are attached to this communication and detail the specifics about check-out procedures. Please review these.

Again, I want to acknowledge that this is not the outcome we were hoping for as we began imagining our response in light of the pandemic. Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our students and community, and our desire is to do everything possible to support you and your continued academic success. We will work hard to support you and to be responsive to your needs. For questions regarding housing, please email us at or call (509) 313-4103. For general information regarding Gonzaga’s response to COVID-19 please call (509) 313-7070. We will respond to your questions as quickly as we are able.

Sincerely yours,


Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.