The University of Saint Francis, which has campuses in Fort Wayne and Crown Point, will return to on-campus instruction for its fall semester, which beings Aug. 24.
College President Sister M. Elise Kriss in an April 30 letter to university students and staff said, “we plan to return to on-campus, classroom instruction with the fall semester and look forward to welcoming our new and returning students to campus in August.” The announcement includes the university’s Fort Wayne campus, which had 2,249 students for the 2019-20 academic year and Crown Point, where 217 students were enrolled.
Kriss said the decision to reopen is based on continuing to follow local, state and federal guidelines outlined throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This likely means wearing facemasks, social distancing and limiting the number of people who can gather in a single place.
“On-campus, face-to-face instruction might look different than it did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kriss said. “The world has changed, and higher education is no exception.”
As of April 30, neither Purdue University Northwest nor Ivy Tech Community College have announced whether either will return to face-to-face instruction for their fall semesters.
Ivy Tech in a statement to Northwest Indiana Business Magazine May 4 said it is exploring several scenarios for its fall semester, indicating it will make a decision sometime this summer.
“As we already had 50% of our students taking online courses, we transitioned seamlessly in late March to a virtual college and will continue virtually through the summer,” Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann said in a statement. “We are building out multiple scenarios for fall and will choose the approach this summer that is calibrated best to Indiana’s COVID-19 health and economic recovery.”
University of Indiana President Michael McRobbie, who also oversees the college’s satellite campuses which includes Indiana University Northwest, in an April 30 letter to students and staff, said the college is considering different scenarios for its fall semester. One option is to resume normal on-campus operations and instruction, however, McRobbie said, “this of course is the scenario all of us would most prefer, but it is also highly unlikely.”
McRobbie said medical experts have warned even as the outbreak shows signs of subsiding, “it is likely we will need to continue social distancing and many other preventive measures to detect and protect against the spread of COVID-19 until a vaccine is widely deployed.”
Valparaiso University also has not announced whether it will return to on-campus instruction for its fall semester. Valparaiso University’s summer session opens May 19, which is offering an assortment of online classes.
The University of Notre Dame also has not decided whether to resume normal operations for its fall term but has a committee exploring options.
“Given the great uncertainty across so many factors, we are not able to offer definite plans at this time,” Notre Dame leadership said in an April 28 letter to students and staff.