Baylee Martin | Staff Writer
Duquesne has announced its official plan for full on-campus learning and regular student life operations to return in the fall 2021 semester.
According to an email sent to all students Monday, March 22, the safety precautions put in place over the last year, and those that will be in effect over this coming summer semester at the university will be enough to bring students back to campus.
“Due to the success of present safety measures – including distancing, masking and hygiene practices – as well as the steady increasing vaccination rates and decline in infections and hospitalizations, the University’s health professionals and local health authorities project that a safe return to in-person classes and activities is possible,” the email said.
HyFlex classroom technologies have been a successful implementation in Duquesne’s preparations for remote and asynchronous instruction, so some courses in the fall semester will still offer these options in variation for students.
Duquesne Provost David Dausey said in the announcement that this is an exciting time to bring back the old, while ringing in the new.
“We learned a great deal and made some innovations during the time when we had to be remote, and we will keep some of what we learned for future classes,” Dausey said. “We won’t just be returning to business as usual—we’ll be returning to something like a new-and-improved business as usual.”
Although academics are the university’s main priority, aspects of student life and operations are just as important in returning to hopeful normalcy in the fall. Athletics in the newly finished UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse will hold events with in-person audiences at limited capacity, and outdoor dining options will remain due to their popularity among students.
Jess Schmitz, a sophomore political science major said she was “for it.”
“All adults in the U.S. will be eligible for the vaccine by May, so by the time we come back to campus, the only people who won’t have it are the ones who don’t want it,” Schmitz said.
Sophomore philosophy major Noah Madden said that the email was like the light at the end of the tunnel.
“When I read the email that the university sent, it made me feel like that there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel if they believe that we can return to normal student life. I am nervous to see how it turns out, but only time can tell what will happen,” Madden said.
Additional information will be provided to students in the future.