TWU to Continue In-Seat Instruction in Fall 2021
Tennessee Wesleyan University plans to continue in-person instruction this coming fall semester, a decision that was officially announced this week. The University has remained in-person throughout the 2020-21 school year, with a variety of COVID-19 restrictions in place.
The school stressed cautious optimism about the opening of campus events and in-seat instruction, dependent on the continued improving of regional COVID-19 cases. As before, a variety of courses will still operate online only, regardless of any change in policy due to COVID-19.
“The plan for the fall is to be in-person and in community with our students,” said Dr. Grant Willhite, VP for Academic Affairs. “At this moment we are planning for social distancing and masks in the classrooms but will be closely watching CDC guidelines and regional case counts as the vaccine efforts continue through the summer.”
Dr. Willhite also noted the change in Welcome Weekend and orientations planned throughout the summer. These events were held virtually in 2020, providing a safe environment, though a unique challenge in helping students fully orient themselves with campus.
These events will be held in person in 2021, with appropriate COVID-19 guidelines in place. One such example is freshman advising, which will take place in a large room with ample space to social distance, and with both the advisors and the incoming freshmen wearing masks.
“Campus events have been occurring throughout this year and will continue next year,” said Dr. Scott Mashburn, VP for Student Life. “At this point, we hope that Convocations and Chapel requirements will be reinstated for next year; however, that is a decision that will be made closer to August.”
“We are hosting summer camps with Upward Bound and outside groups where social distancing, masks, and other practices will be in place. New student orientations will be held in person and will have the overnight component to them.”
With the rise in availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, the University has also stressed the desire for all who are able to consider vaccination and will continue some of the contingency plans in the event students get the virus.
“We are urging all employees and students to educate themselves about the benefits of the COVID vaccines and make an informed decision about the protections the vaccines provide,” said TWU President Dr. Harley Knowles. “We are and will continue to follow the CDC guidance about precautions, including urging our students to protect themselves, their families, and others by getting vaccinated, unless they cannot because of medical or religious reasons.”
“At this point, we plan to continue to reserve quarantine rooms in the residence halls if needed,” added Dr. Mashburn. “Dining services will continue to operate under the guidance of local/state government and Aramark procedures.”
First day of classes at TWU is scheduled for Monday, August 16, with the annual Welcome Weekend planned for the Friday-Sunday prior. Summer classes will be a mixture of online and in-person courses.