Ohio University President Duane Nellis announced updated plans for Fall Semester 2021 on Thursday, including a return to a typical academic calendar and planned increases of in-person class options.
In a university-wide email, Nellis reflected on the challenges of the past year and expressed confidence in a return to normalcy in the fall.
“We are confidently moving toward a largely normal Fall 2021 semester that delivers on the highly experiential student environment for which Ohio University is known,” Nellis said in the email.
In the coming week, OU’s course offerings will be updated to include more in-person classes as a result of increased capacity in classrooms, Nellis said. More spaces on campus will also be opened, including academic buildings, research laboratories, creative spaces and student support services. Dining halls will offer dine-in and take-out options as well.
Students will resume a normal academic calendar in the fall, including a break for Thanksgiving and a return to campus after break to finish out the Fall Semester, according to OU’s website.
Students who live or attend classes on any OU campus will still be subjected to asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, limited gathering policies and mask wearing measures. Those measures will be enforced until 70% of students are vaccinated or there are less than 50 cases per 100,000 people, Nellis said.
Any student who contracts COVID-19 or is unvaccinated and exposed will still have to enter quarantine or isolation housing, according to OU’s website, although Nellis made clear that the university is not mandating vaccination.
“As members of this community, we each have the opportunity — and the obligation — to be a part of the solution moving forward,” Nellis said in the email. “While we are not requiring vaccination for members of our University community, I join our public health leaders in strongly encouraging you to get vaccinated.”
While Nellis acknowledged the current presence of the pandemic, he is optimistic for the upcoming academic year.
“The world has changed over the last year, Bobcats, but I believe we have done far more than change with it. We have learned from this moment, responded with impactful research and service, and resolved not just to endure but to excel in the midst of great challenge,” Nellis said in the email. “I am confident in our readiness to emerge from it stronger as individuals and as a community, and I thank each of you for being a part of moving us forever forward toward a great 2021-2022 academic year.”