In an exciting update yesterday, the University of Virginia shared news that UVA is planning to return to in-person instruction and “much more normal operations” in fall 2021. View the full update on UVA Today.
University leaders said plans being developed for the fall include a return to in-classroom instruction as the default mode of instruction for faculty and undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
Darden was able to maintain a robust hybrid learning experience throughout the academic year due to extensive planning and investments in technology by the School, but followed UVA’s policy on group gathering limits. With increasing access to vaccines for faculty, students and staff, fall 2021 appears to be a return to a more normal environment.
University leaders also said they expect that limits on gathering and travel will be significantly relaxed; however, they noted that the school will continue to work with public health experts as the start of the fall semester draws closer. The University will provide greater detail about health and safety plans no later than July 15.
Despite an optimistic outlook for the coming academic year, University officials are prepared to revisit plans if needed. And now, at least, there is a precedent to follow.
“These plans are based on our expectation that vaccines will be widely available by the beginning of the fall term and the prevalence of the coronavirus will be much lower than it is today,” President Jim Ryan, Provost Liz Magill and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis wrote. “In the event that the trajectory of the pandemic worsens, it may be necessary for us to revisit some of these decisions. Additionally, there may be a continuing need for some level of public health precautions, but we are optimistic that they will be much less restrictive than the protocols we have employed over the course of the past year.”
Graduating students can also anticipate celebrating the conclusion of their studies with in-person Final Exercises. The Class of 2020 participated in an entirely virtual graduation, but now the UVA and Darden plan for in-person celebrations for both the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021.
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