Fall 2021 semester to be primarily in-person


Rita Offutt, Editor 

On March 4, an email from outgoing University President Colleen Hanycz announced La Salle’s administration is “planning for a primarily in-person semester” for Fall 2021. Although Hanycz will move to Xavier University over the summer, her announcement for the upcoming semester charted La Salle’s transition to post-pandemic life. 

Hanycz described the Spring 2021 semester as a success, writing “our collective efforts, including a robust testing strategy, an enhanced and expanded contact tracing program, and the cooperation of our students, faculty and staff, have helped maintain low transmission numbers on our campus — including a positivity rate of less than 0.5%.” As of March 12, La Salle’s community has seen a total of 101 cases of COVID-19, with the most cases identified in the beginning of February. The following chart, copied from La Salle’s COVID-19 dashboard, details the instances of COVID-19 from Spring 2021. 

Classroom constraints and professors’ discretion may impact course modalities for Fall 2021. As the City of Philadelphia adjusts their maximum capacity guidelines, Hanycz said La Salle will “work to transition to even more classes to in-person modality.” As of March 17, Philadelphia’s guidelines for colleges and universities says classrooms must have “at least six feet of distance between students/instructors [and either] 20 persons per 1,000 square feet; or less than 25 percent of maximum capacity of classrooms; or a maximum of 25 students per class.” Starting on April 4, Pennsylvania will begin to lessen restrictions for bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. While Philadelphia has not adjusted their restrictions to align with the state’s, the Philadelphia Inquirer describes the plan to lift the ban on events of more than 50 people. As many Philadelphia schools return to in-person classes, changes in educational regulations are expected. Nonetheless, the Registrar has listed six modalities for course delivery this fall: Face to face instruction (F2F), hybrid, staggered, remote with specific meeting times, online and independent study. The F2F modality will model the traditional classroom setting and the hybrid modality will be divided into traditional and online elements. The staggered modality is similar to the hybrid modality as professors may choose to have online elements, but students will have specific days of the week for in-person attendance. The next modality, remote with specific meeting times, will entail synchronous Zoom classes. The online modality will be asynchronous and fully remote. Students in independent study courses should consult with their professor to find out what the modality will be used for their specific project. 

The plans for Fall 2021 include a meal-plan requirement for residential students, as well as continued social distancing and increased emphasis on health monitoring. Wearing a mask, washing one’s hands, making use of sanitizing stations, physical distancing and reporting any signs of sickness are expected to continue to be the norm, and students are required to continue these practices until further notice from the University. 


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