Catholic University Announces Fully In-Person Instruction for Fall 2021
Image courtesy of Catholic University Communications
By Jacqueline Jedrych
After more than a year of online instruction, President John Garvey announced on March 10 that the Catholic University of America will be returning to fully in-person instruction in Fall 2021.
“I am happy to announce that Catholic University is ready to take the next step,” the email reads, “– a return to full in-person instruction beginning Fall 2021.”
The announcement also emphasizes the continued commitment to health and safety for the students, faculty, and staff. Many of the COVID-19 guidelines that have been implemented in the last three semesters will remain in effect next semester, in order to protect unvaccinated students. The COVID-19 vaccine will be recommended for students, although it is not clear whether the university will provide vaccinations or whether it will be required or not. Some students are opting not to get the vaccine, due to other health concerns.
“I will personally not be getting vaccinated for a while because I have some chronic conditions,” sophomore psychology major Becky Roberts said, “and due to the necessarily rushed nature of the vaccine, there’s not any long term research on how it could react to people who have auto-immune issues, so I am waiting at least until there is a significant amount of research to make sure it is safe for myself.”
Even without the vaccine, Roberts feels safe to return to campus.
“I do feel safe returning to campus without personally being vaccinated because at that point, the most vulnerable members of our population and more will be vaccinated so the ramifications for a possible outbreak will be significantly milder.”
Although students are available to return for in-person instruction, many will still be unable to do so, due to high-risk status or financial situation. Online instruction will still be available for these students.
“We acknowledge that even with safety protocols in place, some members of our community will not immediately be able to rejoin us on campus. In these cases we will make the necessary accommodations for remote learning or teaching.”
Sophomore musical theatre major Carolyn Tachoir is excited to take classes, especially her dancing, singing, and acting classes, in person.
“I’m excited to see everyone’s faces in person instead of little boxes,” Tachoir commented, “since I’ve only seen them over Zoom for months.”
Students are looking forward to returning to fully in-person instruction, but not every student got to experience classroom learning this semester.
“[Returing to school] makes me feel very excited, but a little nervous,” said Roberts, “because personally this semester, all of my classes were entirely online, so I wish that I had had more of a transition into it. I feel like it’s going to be a huge adjustment to go from fully online back to fully in-person.”
Students are looking forward to a return to normalcy and a regular pace of life, although many will miss the accommodations of virtual classes.
“A separation of my personal space and learning space would be super beneficial, psychologically,” Roberts said. “However, I am not looking forward to the decrease in flexibility that comes with synchronous instruction.”
In-person learning has advantages and disadvantages, but the campus community is striving for a return to as close to normal as possible for students, faculty, and staff.