University plans for in-person academics for 2021-2022 year


The Daily Illini File Photo

Dr. Luis Rodriguez and his students participate in an online video discussion regarding Puerto Rico hurricane relief on Oct. 17, 2019. The University recently sent a Massmail informing students there will be more in-person classes next year.

By Mona Alrazzaq, Assistant News Editor

The University recently sent out a Massmail to all students and faculty that “considerably more” classes are planned to be held in-person this approaching fall semester than those that are currently offered.
This transition is due to the growing amount of COVID-19 vaccines that are becoming available as well as the success of the University’s “ongoing COVID-19 mitigations” such as the COVID-19 testing and the Safer Illinois application.
The University hopes to offer the vaccine to all students who want to take it by the beginning of the fall semester, according to Robin Kaler, associate chancellor for Public Affairs.
As of Thursday, there have been 6,267 cases of COVID-19 reported on campus out of 1,602,677 total tests processed. The overall positivity rate is 0.39%.
Kaler noted that this plan is subject to change depending on COVID-19 conditions or the tightening of state guidelines. However, the University is optimistic about implementing the plan.
“What we’re telling everybody is for planning purposes, assume that you can go back to face-to-face,” Kaler said.
Classrooms for the next academic school year are currently planned to operate at 50% capacity in any room, with maximum capacity in rooms up to 200 people, according to Kaler. This plan allows for classes that are normally in person to be able to return to in-person in some form.
Kaler said that a potential strategy to ensure this in-person component is implemented would be to have half the students enrolled in a class meet in person one day and the other half meet in person a separate day.
The course catalog in April will give students a better idea of what classes are planned to be taught in-person and which classes are planned to be taught online in order to give students a better sense of what their upcoming year looks like.
Even though classes will remain in-person, safety measures will still be in place in order to continue stopping the spread of COVID-19.
“We anticipate that existing COVID-19 mitigation strategies — face coverings, regular testing, contact tracing — will continue to be in effect during the fall semester,” according to the Massmail sent by the vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost.
In addition to the Massmail sent by the University, Gies College of Business students were also sent an email alerting them that the school is “fully prepared” to return to “normal levels of face-to-face teaching in Fall 2021.”
“Given the outstanding testing protocols in place on campus, the rapid expansion of vaccinations and our other safety protocols on campus, we are very optimistic about our ability to provide normal levels of in-person education for the fall semester,” said Jeffrey Brown, dean of Gies, in an email.

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