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Univ. releases tentative fall 2021 semester plans

The university plans to offer an in-person learning module for the upcoming fall 2021, according to an email sent to the Brandeis community on March 16. The in-person learning plan has been drafted due to the “successful in-person operations in fall 2020 and spring 2021,” according to the email. 

The decision to offer in-person learning next semester was made due to the current low status of the infection rates on campus, the vaccine rollout across the country and community participation in the social distancing and health practices enforced by the university, according to the email. However, the positivity rate has spiked in the past week. According to the Brandeis COVID-19 Dashboard, 15 new students have tested positive since Sunday, March 14. There are currently 24 students in isolation and 58 in quarantine. The university’s positivity rate is currently at 0.31 percent, the highest it has been since July, according to an email sent out by Vice President of Student Affairs Raymond Ou on March 18.

Innovations implemented for the fall 2020 and the spring 2021 semester to allow an in-person experience for students will be incorporated into the fall 2021, according to the March 16 email. 

The university intends to offer an on-campus experience for all undergraduate and graduate students, according to the email. Though the university’s plans outlined in the email may change to meet Massachusetts State Guidelines, if necessary. They are also subject to change if public health officials recommend against having a typical on-campus semester, according to the email. 

The university proposed having a majority of classes be taught in person, though physical distancing measures will remain in use as well as any other health measures still being required by the state, according to the email. University faculty and staff will also be operating at close to full capacity to be able to teach in person and participate in the community to assist students. University activities including club meetings, sports events, performances and celebrations will be allowed in-person again, according to the email.

The Graduate School of Arts and Science, the Brandeis International Business School and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management will each release more detailed plans to their students from their deans regarding their plans for the fall 2021 semester, according to the email. The Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies will continue with a fully online learning module for the fall 2021 semester. Further updates will be provided as plans are solidified on the university’s COVID-19 Response page, according to the email. The university intends to ensure that the campus is a healthy and safe place where the Brandeis community can “live, study, research, create, connect and grow.”

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