SRU outlines plan for fall 2021 semester

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While mask-wearing will likely continue, Slippery Rock University plans to operate in a “more traditional college experience” for the fall 2021 semester, as the University outlined its plan for classes beginning Aug. 23.

March 1, 2021

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University has unveiled its plans for the fall 2021 semester with full consideration to the evolving circumstances pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. SRU is planning for a "more traditional college experience," when classes begin Aug. 23, according to University officials.

"A 'traditional college experience' means we will be together, in person," said SRU President William Behre. "However, I expect that we will still be wearing masks when we are together, and we may have to restrict very large gatherings. While details are still being refined and are dependent on current infection and vaccination trends, it is clear that our faculty and staff have done extraordinary work in planning and that SRU will return to a sense of normal with the next semester." 

President Behre

   BEHRE

SRU's fall 2021 semester plan includes the following:  

  • Residence halls will be operating at near capacity but with no more than two students to a room. A typical semester sees our campus host 2,800 residential students. In contrast, during the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, that number has plummeted to around 700. For fall 2021, we expect to have more than 2,300 residents on campus. 
  • In-person dining will resume. 
  • SRU will offer substantially more face-to-face courses, accounting for more than 80% of all instruction versus the current 20% of in-person offerings. 
  • A return to in-person, co-curricular activities. 
  • Student-athletes will compete in intercollegiate athletic events, and those contests will include some form of fan attendance.
  • More employees will be working on campus than working remotely. Study-abroad programs will likely recommence as travel restrictions are lifted, albeit with fewer students.  

To accommodate more in-person classes, the University is increasing the number of rooms on campus that can more safely host classes. This will include adjusting learning spaces to feature socially distanced seating configurations and plexiglass barriers. SRU will also have enhanced cleaning procedures that will not only increase the frequency of cleaning but feature the addition of more than 125 ionization units that have been shown to eliminate 99% of viruses, bacteria and molds. 

"Our goal is to operate in a more traditional fashion in the fall, one that maximizes in-person opportunities for living, learning, and socializing," Behre said. "Our decision-making is driven by an assumption that most of our community will be vaccinated by the start of classes in August.

"These past 12 months have been difficult for the vast majority of us - faculty, staff and students alike - as we've all tried to juggle school, work and other responsibilities. But at the same time, I've been impressed by not only the resilience of our community in responding to the pandemic and its many challenges, but also for our collective dedication to our jobs, education, and, most of all, each other."

For more information about SRU's COVID-19 response, visit the University COVID-19 resource webpage.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854  | justin.zackal@sru.edu