Reopening of College Campuses for Fall 2021

With universal vaccine eligibility for college students and faculty, colleges and universities look to open their campuses for the upcomign Fall 2021 semester.

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The University of Utah in Salt Lake City announced that it will provide in-person learning for students who wish to come on campus in the fall.

Are you going on campus next year? Here is what you need to know. Along with acceptance letters, many colleges and universities across the United States have released statements indicating full re-openings of their campuses in the fall. Many colleges fear that students may not return to campus if some sense of normalcy does not also return by September 2021. Due to an uprising in petitions and legal actions taken by students against schools after billing full price tuition for attending “Zoom University,” colleges worry that some students will refuse to re-enroll if in-person learning is not re-established.

Recently, the provost of New York University, Katherine Fleming, released a statement detailing the university’s plans to move to entirely in-person learning for Fall 2021. “This planning rests on the eligibility of those teaching in person for the COVID-19 vaccine,” Fleming said. University administrators concede that many of the promises of having a fully in-person environment on campus during the fall have highly contingent variables, such as how much the Coronavirus will be contained by the current vaccines.

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, thousands of COVID-19 cases have been reported at colleges and universities in America, and infections have continued to steadily increase across campuses, even recently as vaccine eligibility has expanded. 

Given the parameters, many students remain optimistic about being on campus in the fall of 2021, whether it is for the first time or as a returning student. Alumnus Robert Stanciu ’20, who is currently attending Columbia University, said, “I’m so excited to go on campus in the fall. I haven’t had the chance to live in a dorm or go to a class in one of the buildings yet, and I couldn’t be happier to do it, soon.” Alumnus Jesse Gilbert-Sovern ’20, who is currently attending The University of Michigan said, “I’m really excited to have classes in-person and meet my friends and professors face to face. Considering that I now have a leadership position, I am also excited to give new members of my organization an experience that I never had.”

Regardless of how much we want our lives to return to pre-pandemic times, we must be careful not to be too rash and rush into reopening college and university campuses without the proper preparations. 

According to an ongoing New York Times survey, Coronavirus cases continue to arise on college campuses, with more than 240,000 cases since the beginning of 2021, and a total of more than 660,000 cases since the start of the pandemic. To safely ride out this last phase of the pandemic is key towards achieving a new normal for the United States, and remaining safe on college campuses across the United States is an integral part of this goal.

Alumnus Jesse Gilbert-Sovern ’20, who is currently attending The University of Michigan said, “I’m really excited to have classes in-person and meet my friends and professors face to face. Considering that I now have a leadership position, I am also excited to give new members of my organization an experience that I never had.”

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