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Planning for the Fall Semester

Dear colleagues,

The accelerated distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and the steady decline in cases on our campus and beyond are encouraging signs that we are nearing a turning point in our response to this pandemic.
With this in mind, I am writing to let you know that we are planning to return fully to in-person instruction this fall semester.

While we have learned to adapt and maximize the use of technology, we have also come to appreciate the value of being together in the classroom. Our students have told us time and again about the challenges of learning and staying connected with online course schedules, and I have heard from many of you about how you have missed the intangible benefits of teaching and mentoring in person.
In order to deliver a fully in-person fall schedule for our students, our expectation is that all faculty will return to the classroom to teach in person. There will be an exception process in place for those with extenuating circumstances.

As we have done since last March, my team will work with deans, academic leaders, and staff from across the university to ensure that we are maintaining a safe campus for you and for our students. You will receive information and support from my office and your college leadership in the weeks and months ahead.

The chancellor’s leadership team, advised by Dr. Spencer Gregg and our Emergency Operations Center, will continue to follow the guidance of health professionals. We remain committed to being adaptable and responsive to changing conditions as we prepare for a successful fall semester.

I am humbled and inspired at how our community has met the challenges of the past year with resilience, compassion, and grace. Our principles for leading with courage—being flexible, creative, and compassionate—have served us well. I believe these values will continue to persist in our campus culture long after this pandemic is over. Thank you for your part in ensuring that our community emerges from this challenging time even stronger than we were before.

John Zomchick
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor