As the vaccination rate in the state of Utah steadily increases, the University of Utah announced it will likely return back to in-person classes starting in the fall.
The U’s registrar office is postponing the Fall 2021 semester schedule until March 29, while they normally post it on March 15. Registration will begin on April 12, with fall classes beginning on Aug. 23.
Dan Reed, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, said the Fall 2021 semester will be a lot more like what students have gotten used to.
Meaning some elements of the post-pandemic campus will start up again in the fall, such as in-person classes, clubs and social activities.
“The U is committed to making sure every student who wishes to have an in-person educational experience will be able to meet face-to-face with their instructors and peers,” Reed said.
As far as enrollment goes, Reed anticipates the vast majority, 75% or more, of classes will be held with some element of in-person instruction. Currently, only 20% of the U’s classes are in person.
Reed also expects masks will continue to be required throughout the spring and summer in indoor spaces and when physical distancing is not possible.
As of March 24, all Utahns 16 and older can get vaccinated. The U’s Senior Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, Steve Robinson, has been checking in on these changes regularly.
“I think that social distancing and masking requirements will change as health authorities indicate. This is definitely an area the university will continue to monitor,” Robinson said.
Clubs and social activities are expected to resume in person as well. Students can speak to their advisors in their college for registration help.
It is Reed’s hope that, with federal guidelines and vaccination programs in Utah, many students at the U will be vaccinated by summer.
“We know that many students are anxious to return to the college experience we all have come to expect at the University of Utah. And we are excited to welcome them back to campus,” Reed said.
Students should look out for the fall schedule on March 29.
“We will work with all students, regardless of where they are—excited or nervous—about returning to campus,” Reed said.
Even Spring 2021 graduation will host in-person, college-specific convocations May 5 – 7 at the Rice-Eccles Stadium and in the Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre. The General Commencement will be live-streamed Thursday, May 6 at 6: 30 p.m.
Robinson believes circumstances with the pandemic are changing for the better.
“Regardless, these positive changes did allow for a greater variety of options (including face to face) for the offering of classes this fall,” Robinson said.