Inside INdiana Business

IU plans for ‘mostly normal’ fall semester

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Indiana University says it is planning for “mostly normal” operations when it welcomes students for the fall 2021 semester, including in-person instruction. IU President Michael McRobbie says the fall session may not look like it did before the outbreak of COVID-19, such as the fall semester of 2019, but he says it will not look like last fall either.

“As we have learned from the experience of the past year, in the face of this deadly pandemic we cannot set any of our plans in stone,” said McRobbie. “As long as the pandemic is with us, we must be ready to adjust course rapidly, and we will constantly review our plans, activities and operations.”

McRobbie says the decision has been based on advice from IU’s medical and public health experts. IU says the plans will depend on the state of the pandemic and the vaccine and how many in the IU community are fully vaccinated.

“Having the vast majority of the IU community vaccinated against COVID-19 will be one of the keys to allowing an increase in in-person courses and activities on campuses this fall,” said Dr. Aaron Carroll, director of IU mitigation testing. “Our testing data continues to show very manageable levels of COVID-19 on our campuses. We are optimistic that should the current trends continue, we’ll be back on campus together this fall.”

Carroll says positivity rates have continued to fall and have recently been below 1%. He says ongoing mitigation testing of IU students, faculty and staff has played a major role in enabling IU to manage COVID-19 on campus.

Purdue University announced two weeks ago that its current plan includes a traditional fall calendar, with normal start and end dates and our typical breaks.

“With the current assumptions, we expect classroom density will be increased, including larger lectures, permitting more face-to-face instruction in the fall. We expect masks to still be required as well as additional PPE where necessary,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in an open letter to the campus community.

He said if conditions change, the university may need to pivot to a different calendar. Purdue said it also expects more relaxed restrictions on student activities, consistent with local public health and CDC guidance.

“We will continue to take every step we can to protect those who are vulnerable in whatever way is appropriate at a given time,” said Daniels.

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