All University 2020 Summer Session courses will be taught online, according to an all-campus email sent by Director of Continuing Studies Jennifer Curran on April 3. This follows the University’s decision to transition to remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

I know that this is a disappointment to many students and faculty (and to our office as well),” Curran wrote in an email to The Argus. “The decision was definitely not made lightly. It went through a rigorous approval process, at every level, including EPC [the Educational Policy Committee] and the President’s office. It came down to maintaining the option for students to take Wesleyan summer courses, while protecting the health and safety of students, faculty and staff.”

Enrollment for Summer Session opened March 6, the week before the University decided to transition to online learning for the rest of the spring semester. As a result, students have been hesitant to register for Summer Session.

“Enrollment for Summer Session opened the day before spring break, and since then, students have been dealing with a lot of stress and uncertainty,” Curran wrote. “Since the announcement about moving online, we have had a lot of students contacting our office with questions about registering for courses.”

Students who are currently enrolled in a Summer Session course and wish to drop it can do so by May 8, and will receive a full refund. Students who registered for University housing over the summer have not yet been billed, so no housing refund would be necessary. 

While a majority of Summer Session courses will still be held in the online format, six of the 20 initially planned courses will no longer be offered. These classes are: “Afro-Asian Intersections,” “Introduction to Chemistry 141,” “Introduction to Chemistry 142,” “Introduction to Chemistry Lab,” “Introduction to Design and Engineering,” and “Law, Justice, and Democracy.” 

Professors were responsible for deciding whether or not to cancel their courses. 

“It was up to each of the professors to decide,” Curran wrote. “Some courses, like the Chem courses and lab, did not lend themselves to moving online, given Summer Session’s compressed schedule (essentially an entire term completed in a month).”

Curran acknowledged that these cancellations may inconvenience students, especially those who were hoping to gain specific credits over the summer. 

“We are happy to suggest other Wesleyan courses for students to take,” Curran wrote. “However, our office is careful not to suggest non-Wes options; we don’t know the needs or requirements of each department or major. I would recommend that the students interested in the Chem/Lab courses should talk with their advisors, the Chemistry department, or the chair of their major, to find an acceptable program where they can take Chem this summer.”

Summer session applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

“Summer Session courses are filled ‘first-come, first-served.’ Seats aren’t reserved for majors or specific class years,” Curran wrote.  “We will cancel classes with low enrollments on May 8. So, two reasons to not wait until the last minute to register. However, we will register students right up to the first day of class, as long as there are seats available.”

However, applications for financial aid are due April 15. 

“I encourage students to apply for financial aid right away, if they are interested in summer session courses,” Curran wrote. “The application is very simple and does not oblige students to take a course.”

Hannah Docter-Loeb can be reached at

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