Preparation for Thanksgiving Departure from Campus

November 9, 2020

Over the course of the past eight weeks, everyone in the Gonzaga University community has worked diligently to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.  As a result, we have been able to continue our educational mission while successfully supporting students in-person, both on and off campus.  I am very grateful for the efforts of each and every person who has taken these matters seriously, including those who have participated in our quarantine and isolation efforts.  The Spokane Regional Health District has consistently shared with us that, in their view, our adoption of face-coverings, physical distancing, commitment to testing, and isolation & quarantine procedures have been successful in preventing community spread and keeping transmission of the virus to a minimal level.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the rate of COVID-19 incidence is climbing in virtually all areas of our country as well as across Europe, Central and South America, and the Middle East.  At this point in time, the situation is not improving, but getting worse; indeed, we have seen an increase in positive test results for our own campus, just within the past several days.  For this reason, I wish to announce the following guidance for all Spokane/campus-based community memberswhether your plans involve staying on/around campus until the end of the semester, or if you are planning to depart Spokane for the Thanksgiving holiday.

  1. Our first priority remains the health, safety and welfare of our students and their family members.  Please be mindful of the risks associated with someone who is COVID-positive (and possibly asymptomatic) leaving our campus community and traveling.  This is especially a concern for those who are returning to families that have potentially vulnerable individuals, and are themselves concerned about exposure in the time leading up to Thanksgiving.
  2. The University is asking all students, faculty and staff to take extra precautions and carefully follow all health requirements and guidelines in the two-week period leading up to Thanksgiving break.  While students should continue with their normal class routines, to minimize viral spread during that week students are urged to be even more vigilant and continue to follow all face covering and social distancing requirements, minimize interactions with others outside of their roommates and/or housemates, avoid social gatherings, and self-quarantine as much as possible leading up to November 25th (or your planned departure date if prior to this).
  3. The University will continue to offer COVID-19 testing to those students who believe they might have been exposed to someone with the virus, or who may be showing signs and symptoms, through November 25th.  Students who want to be tested before leaving Spokane should plan to be tested at least three weekdays (Monday-Friday) prior to their planned departure to allow for test delivery and processing times. The turnaround time for results will be approximately 48 hours from the time the sample is received at the lab.  There will be no random surveillance or “walk-in” testing (only “signs, symptoms and exposures” testing) from the week beginning November 16th until the week beginning November 30th, when surveillance and “walk-in” testing will resume.  The University will support students with healthcare services throughout the Fall Semester (until December 18th).
  4. Gonzaga’s quarantine and isolation space will continue to be available for students who need this support over the Thanksgiving break and/or after courses resume remotely on November 30th. This includes students who test positive for COVID-19 and will need to isolate prior to leaving campus, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The University will continue to notify close contacts of infected individuals in the interests of public health.  Students who are identified as needing to isolate or quarantine on or before November 20thare strongly encouraged to complete their isolation or quarantine period on campus or in another suitable single-occupancy space off campus before they leave for the remainder of the semester and remote learning.
  5. For those students who plan to remain on campus for Thanksgiving and the remainder of the fall semester, campus services, departments and facilities will be operational and accessible (with modified hours for certain services over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend).  Campus Dining is planning a special Thanksgiving Dinner for students on November 26th with more information to follow, and other holiday events will occur as we move into the Advent season.  More information regarding department and support services office hours for the Thanksgiving and post-Thanksgiving timeframe will be communicated early the week of November 23rd.
  6. Campus departure and the transition to remote learning.  For students who are preparing to leave campus for Thanksgiving break, please remember to take any belongings you will need for the remainder of the year until the start of the Spring semester.  Students who are not planning on returning to campus for the Spring semester should plan to completely remove all personal belongings and check out of their residence, following the process outlined by the Housing & Residence Life Department.  Students who are departing their on-campus residence for the remainder of fall semester will not be permitted to return to their residence halls or access campus buildings until the start of the spring semester (i.e., keycards will be deactivated).

Students and families should check their email for additional information that will shortly be forthcoming from the Provost regarding the end of the semester, as well as some initial information regarding Spring 2021.  The University will be providing detailed information regarding the Arrival and Return to Campus for Spring Semester 2021 later this month.  For the latest updates and information on Gonzaga University’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, including frequently asked questions and information specific for students, faculty and staff, visit

Thank you.

Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.

Key Dates:

  • Later this week – Message from the Provost containing details about Spring semester 2021
  • November 16 25 – Availability of COVID-19 testing focused exclusively on students with signs and symptoms or possible exposure (SSE testing)
  • November 26 – Thanksgiving Holiday
  • November 30 – December 11 - All instruction/courses continue via remote delivery
  • December 1 – Release of Arrival and Return to Campus Guides for Spring Semester 2021
  • December 19 – Closure of campus residence halls for Semester Break