Quinnipiac plans to return to entirely on-campus instruction for the fall 2021 semester

Melina Khan, Copy Editor

Quinnipiac University announced plans for the fall 2021 semester on March 18, including full on-ground instruction, updated distancing measures and plans to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations.

“With the expectation that public health guidelines will shift with the increasing rate of vaccination, we anticipate there will be a return to a much more ‘normal’ semester this coming fall,” Provost Debra Liebowitz said in the announcement.

The plan includes a default on-campus, in-person instruction, and students won’t be able to opt for fully remote learning unless approved through an appeal process. Classrooms will be adapted to reflect updated state guidelines requiring three-foot in-class distancing instead of the previous six-foot guideline.

Liebowitz encouraged community members to get vaccinated when they become eligible. According to Connecticut’s vaccine rollout plan, individuals above the age of 16 will qualify for the vaccine on April 5. Liebowitz added that there are expected to be more opportunities for students who have been vaccinated to gather with each other in the fall “without restrictions.”

Liebowitz said it is anticipated that face masks will still be required around campus in the fall. It is also likely that students will be able to “move freely” among residence and dining halls and student activities will have fewer restrictions. 

Other protocols will remain in place to a lesser extent. There will likely be “some level” of on-campus COVID-19 testing, and isolation and quarantine spaces will exist with lower capacity.

Students are excited to be slowly returning to normal.

“Overall I think it’s a good plan, and I’m glad they announced it this early,” said Grace Claudio, a sophomore nursing major.

Claudio added that having an in-person classroom experience is important for students.

“I personally feel it’s a lot easier to learn in person than online and as long as it’s safe, I think we should move forward,” Claudio said.

Anna Scortichini, a sophomore occupational therapy major, said it will be crucial for students to continue following protocols.

“It’s going to take people getting vaccinated and remaining vigilant with everything, and I think that is a good plan if everyone’s willing to cooperate,” Scortichini said.

Regarding remote learning, Scortichini said she disagrees with Quinnipiac moving away from it.

“I think that people probably found that they prefer that way of learning, so I think that they should still have it as an option for those who want to continue that,” Scortichini said.

Alexis Berroa, a first-year health sciences major, said discouraging remote learning may push prospective students away from enrolling at the university.

“(First-year students) should definitely have a lot more freedom because a lot of people are still scared about the virus,” Berroa said. “Even though the cases here are low, they might be high somewhere else.”

Berroa said the adjustment for students to return to full in-person instruction may be difficult.

“Since this year was half remote and half in person, I feel like a lot of students won’t be able to focus well in person all the time,” Berroa said.