Indiana University of Pennsylvania announced Monday that it intends to resume traditional, in-person classes and events come the Fall of 2021.
“As we continue to follow the science, we are hoping that health and safety guidelines will allow us to resume in-person events and extracurricular activities that we all have greatly missed,” IUP President Dr. Michael A. Driscoll said.
Classes for the fall 2021 semester are scheduled to begin on Aug. 23.
“IUP has never been about buildings, it is about people,” Driscoll continued in a message also posted on the university’s website. “Our students, faculty and staff have been incredibly resilient, positive and innovative since the March 2020 requirement to go completely remote, but this is not our preference.”
For now and the remainder of the spring semester, IUP has gone back to its Fall 2020 rebalance plan, with students in specific groups on campus and classes offered in a hybrid fashion with a mixture of in-person and remote classes.
IUP spokeswoman Michelle Fryling said this plan had about one-third of IUP’s student body returning to campus, with the remainder using technology to access their courses. Also, university employees who do not encounter students on a regular basis are being asked to work remotely to the fullest extent possible.
“We will continue to follow the guidelines from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control as we move forward, but we wanted to share our current thinking to help our students and their families to make their plans,” Driscoll said.
Also, beginning in January, IUP has been offering free, on-campus COVID-19 testing for students, along with a randomized student testing initiative.
“The IUP community has carefully followed these health and safety guidelines, and as a result, we have seen low numbers of COVID-19 positive cases, especially in the spring semester,” Driscoll said. “We hope that this trend continues.” University officials said IUP still is pondering how to conduct May commencement ceremonies, while decisions about fall intercollegiate sports have yet to be announced by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference or the National Collegiate Athletic Association.