Candler Forward: Continuing Through COVID-19

Candler Forward:
Continuing Through COVID-19

As of 10/30/20

Candler School of Theology will continue to offer a mix of online, hybrid, and in-person classes for the spring 2021 academic term. Emory leadership collaborated with public health experts and representatives from across campus to develop plans for the spring semester. The strategy they developed was based on projected COVID-19 cases, forecasts for flu in the coming months, and prioritizing the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

Resources for COVID-Related Issues

For the most comprehensive information about Emory’s response, guidelines, and resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the Emory Forward website.

If you are a student experiencing financial hardships related to the pandemic, visit "Emergency Funding for COVID-19 Hardship" for a list of Candler and Emory resources designed to assist students in need, including the EmoryTogether Fund, the Student Hardship Fund, and the Candler Forward Emergency Fund.

If you are a staff or faculty member experiencing financial hardships related to the pandemic, visit the Emory Hardship Fund for information on available assistance.

Student Resources

Faculty Resources


Highlights of Spring Semester Plan

  • All students who plan to be on campus for any amount of time must complete the onboarding process for spring 2021. Even those who completed the fall onboarding process must complete the process again for spring. Go here to complete the student onboarding process.
  • Classes will be offered in online, hybrid, and in-person formats. Candler has developed a set of technology recommendations and tech support contacts to prepare students for online learning.
  • Classes for the regular spring term will start on Monday, January 25 and conclude on May 3. Finals will run May 7–12.
  • The January term (J-term) will run January 4–22; meeting dates for particular classes may vary within these dates.
  • There will not be a spring break, but we will encourage faculty to build rhythms into the semester so that there is some break in intensity. No classes will be held on Good Friday, April 2, 2021.
  • For the health of the community, all students, faculty, and staff on campus will be expected to adhere to Emory’s health and safety guidelines as outlined in the Emory Community Compact, including (but not limited to) wearing face coverings/masks positioned over nose and mouth, observing appropriate physical distancing, testing, health screenings, and self-monitoring.


  • Complete the Student Onboarding Process before you come to campus.
  • Wear a mask at all times, outside as well as inside, when on Emory campus. Please use a re-usable cloth face covering/mask. Single-use disposable masks are not compostable or recyclable and must be discarded in the landfill bin.
  • Maintain physical distancing (6 ft) at all times.
  • Buildings will be locked with card-access only. If you have completed the onboarding process and been approved to come to campus, bring your Emory ID with you in order to enter RARB or Cannon Chapel. If you have not completed the onboarding process, your Emory ID will not allow access to campus buildings.
  • To gain access to the building, hold your Emory ID over black card access box (near automatic door button) at the entrance, wait for the green light and listen for a “click,” then push the automatic door button with your elbow. Your card will open doors at RARB and Cannon (main entrance facing White Hall) doors M-F during business hours beginning at 7:30 a.m.

  • Adhere to the guidelines and responsibilities found in the Emory Community Compact for Students while on the Emory campus and within Candler spaces.

  • Hand sanitizer and paper towel dispensers have been installed throughout buildings on campus to help you keep your hands and work surfaces clean.

  • When possible, avoid touching surfaces (door handles, railings). Use a paper towel or tissue if you need to touch a surface. Activate electronic buttons (automatic door or elevator) with your elbow.

  • Elevator capacity is limited to 4 people in RARB and Cannon. Stand on the floor decal inside of the cab. Please consider using the stairs instead of the elevator, if you are able.

  • Study spaces will be available by reservation in Pitts Library, Rita Anne Rollins Building, and Cannon Chapel. You must have completed the onboarding process and be cleared to come to campus in order to utilize on-campus study space. Reserve study space here.

  • Stairwells are one-way only with the exception of the grand marble interior staircase (1st-3rd floor) where travel will be single-file on your right side as you go up or down. Enclosed stairwell-EAST (loading dock side of RARB) is for DOWN traffic only. WEST stairwell which begins on the 2nd floor (Chemistry bldg. side) is for UP traffic only. Please be sure to leave at least six feet of distance between you and others using the stairs whenever possible.

  • Classrooms will be marked with tabletop labels (green checkmarks) showing available seats to maintain physical distancing. Do not sit in unmarked classroom seats. Do not rearrange furniture. Fill in seats farthest from the door first, so students that arrive later won’t have to pass closely by others.

  • Water fountains are turned off, but hydration station/bottle fillers are functional. Please bring a reusable bottle with you. Food and drinks should not be consumed inside classrooms and ideally should be consumed only in outdoor spaces where it is safest to briefly remove your mask in order to eat/drink.

  • Restrooms are open and available as normal. Please wait outside the restroom if all stalls are occupied. Use paper towel/tissue or elbow to open doors and remember to wash hands for 20 seconds before leaving.

  • Lounge area seating areas will be available but physical distancing must be maintained. Sofas should be for 1 person only unless persons are in the same living group. Do not rearrange furniture.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve assembled the answers to some of the most pressing questions you may have about spring semester at Candler. New information will be added regularly.

What is Candler’s plan for spring semester?

Candler will continue to offer a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online courses this spring. In-person and hybrid courses will have on-campus sessions.

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When will classes start?

Classes for the regular spring term will start on Monday, January 25. Classes for January term (J-term) will start on or after January 4, depending on the particular course.

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When will classes end?

The last day of class of the regular spring semester will be May 3. The last day of J-term classes will be on or before January 22, depending on the particular course.

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When will final exams be held?

Will my scholarship or tuition change according to the type of classes I take (in-person, online, or hybrid)?

No. Your scholarship award(s) and tuition will remain the same regardless of the mode of your classes.

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What extra measures are being taken to clean common areas in Candler’s buildings and Cannon Chapel?

Campus Services will be sanitizing buildings using the COVID19 sanitizing strategy covering common areas, lounges, classrooms, bathrooms, dining spaces. Regular high touch surface cleaning will be conducted throughout the day. Regular sanitization of classrooms, congregate areas, restrooms will be performed nightly using a misting aerosol product. In addition, Campus Services has adjusted the HVAC systems in campus buildings to maximize fresh air pulled into buildings rather than recirculate air per normal operations.

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How is Emory addressing questions of health and safety on campus?

Emory’s COVID-19 health and safety measures are based on CDC guidelines and further recommendations of public health experts. The Emory Forward website has a comprehensive section on campus safety measures, which include a combination of health screening and reporting, access to testing, enhanced cleaning, physical distancing, reduced density on campus, requiring face coverings/masks, and contact tracing. All students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus this fall are required to complete an onboarding process and agree to a community compact that outlines expected behaviors to protect the health and safety of the community.

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Does Emory track current Covid-positive cases on campus?

The university’s COVID-19 Dashboard is an online resource providing daily updates on COVID-19 cases within our community. The dashboard can be found on Emory Forward. In addition to the number of COVID-19 positive cases reported for Emory faculty, staff and students, the dashboard shows information on infection rates for the counties in which our campuses are located and Atlanta area hospital capacity.

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How do I report a positive COVID-19 test to the university?

Should you test positive for COVID-19, there are three easy steps you need to take to let Emory officials know you are ill. This process allows us to provide or suggest medical, academic and wraparound services to help you while you are sick.

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I am taking all my classes online this semester, and I don’t plan to visit campus for any reason. Do I still need to complete the onboarding process?

No. If you are not planning to come to campus at all, you DO NOT need to complete the onboarding process.

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I completed the onboarding process prior to fall semester. Do I have to do it again for spring?

Yes, you must complete the onboarding process again to be cleared for campus access during J-term and/or spring semester.

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If I am unable to attend in-person courses because of an underlying health condition or other reasons, how can I take classes?

Candler will offer a range of courses in a fully online format. We will also offer remote access to most other courses that are taught in an in-person or hybrid mode, especially core curricular courses.

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If I am attending courses on campus and become symptomatic or need to quarantine, will I be able to continue my coursework remotely?

Yes. We are making provision for students who are temporarily unable to come to campus to continue their coursework remotely.

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Are international travelers required to quarantine upon arrival to campus?

No. Students arriving on campus from all locations will be tested upon arrival at Emory, advised to monitor for signs and symptoms, and have access to Student Health Services resources.

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How will parking and bus service be affected?

Check Emory’s Parking & Transportation website for an updated timeline for permit registration, fall parking assignments, fall shuttle schedules, and other relevant information.

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May a friend or family member accompany me to campus?

In the interest of the health and safety of our campus community, visitors are not allowed on campus at this time. This decision will be revisited once COVID-19 conditions improve in Atlanta.

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Is Pitts Theology Library open?

There are many ways you can access the resources at Pitts. For full details, visit this page. Currently, access to the library’s physical space and the physical collections is only available to current Emory faculty, students, and staff who have completed the onboarding process and are cleared to be on campus. If you need library assistance, contact Pitts via electronic means listed on their website. Individual study space in Pitts is available by reservation only. Reserve space here. Emory alumni are invited to use the online resources we’ve licensed for alumni access (see Affiliate users should postpone their library use until Emory reopens the campus to visitors.

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Where can I study?

Pitts Library, the Rita Anne Rollins Building, and Cannon Chapel will be open with limited study space for current Emory faculty, students, and staff, by reservation only. Information on using the Candler Study Space reservation system is explained here. Reserve your seat at: 

Individuals may reserve a specific seat in Pitts, RARB, or Cannon Chapel for quiet study in 30-minute blocks for a maximum 90-minute reservation with a limited number of reservations per day. Every 90 minutes, all users will be asked to clean their space with provided sanitizing supplies, take all belongings, and exit the space for a mandatory 30-minute break period. No food/beverages are allowed in any space at any time. Masks (positioned over the nose and mouth) must be worn at all times and social distancing of 6’ maintained. Study Space Monitors will manage the spaces to ensure guidelines and mandatory breaks.

Available spaces and times include:

Pitts Library main level (Monday-Thursday 9am-4:30pm; Friday closed)

Rita Anne Rollins Building rooms 250, 411, 421 (Monday-Thursday 8:30am-7:30pm; Friday 8:30am-5pm)

Cannon Chapel room 314, Brooks Commons (Monday-Thursday 9am-4:30pm; Friday closed)     

Please note that classrooms and library spaces not included above are designated for other purposes and are not available as study space. Reservations in Pitts, the Rita Anne Rollins Building, and Cannon Chapel can be made up to 7 days in advance at

Please address all questions to

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What are Candler’s recommendations for technology to prepare for online or hybrid classes?

For those taking online or hybrid classes, your experience in remote classes is in large part dependent on the quality and functionality of your computer equipment. Candler’s technology recommendations and tech support options will help facilitate the best remote learning possible.

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How have the rules for S/U grading changed?

The rules for S/U grading have gone back to regular rules as found in the catalog. This means the limits for your degree program for S/U classes (excluding those taken for S/U grading in Spring 2020) apply as do the ways an S/U class can count (typically as an elective, but that is not true for all degree programs). Please check the catalog or let Shelly Hart in the Office of the Registrar know if you have questions about S/U grading.

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