ESU Announces Plans For 2021

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Posted by: admin on December 1, 2020, No Comments

East Stroudsburg University’s Interim President Kenneth Long announced plans for 2021, particularly the intention to bring all students back to campus for the fall semester after having an increased number of students return to campus this spring. This announcement comes after the University abruptly switched to complete remote instruction in the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spring 2020 and opted to have only a small number of students on campus during in the current Fall 2020 semester.

“During the past several months and especially during this recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the University has learned a lot about how this virus was being contracted by the campus community; it’s almost never in the classroom or from on-campus organized events, but instead from less controlled casual activities,” said Long. “We are very aware that our current and prospective students are eager to exchange their current remote learning for in-person experiences in the classroom, the residence halls and in other facilities across campus. A successful return to ESU will require all of us to be committed to doing our part in order to maintain the safety of the entire campus community, both on and off-campus.”

According to Long, ESU’s administration remains dedicated to preparing for a primary in-person Fall 2021 by increasing the number of students on campus in Spring 2021, which will include having nearly one-third of the normal housing units available for students requiring face-to-face instruction, practicums, clinical assignments and various campus-based activities.
“While most instruction for the Spring 2021 semester will continue to remain online, students living on-campus will be able to engage in other college experiences that they will not get from their home. Being on-campus, they’ll have opportunities to live near other students, eat meals in the dining hall, study in the library, participate in athletics and student organizations, and enjoy campus events and activities – all while following strict guidelines for wearing masks, social distancing, sanitizing and hand-washing,” said Long. “The University is taking the necessary steps to mitigate this virus, but we will only be successful if students, faculty and staff adhere to these protocols. An inability to do so will result in us having to revert back to a more distanced approach.”

In an effort to enhance campus COVID-19 safety, the University will be implementing a number of new safety protocols for the Spring 2021 semester, including universal self-monitoring and expanded testing. Following the guidelines provided by the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDOH), daily health checks and surveillance testing will be conducted for all students desiring to live on campus, participate in voluntary activities or intercollegiate athletics. Prior and upon arrival to campus, all students will need to quarantine until a negative COVID-19 test result is received. Students will be housed in single-unit suites or apartments with private bathrooms. These measures will help identify individuals that may have contracted the virus, allowing University personnel to take action to prevent the spread on campus and ensure that the student has the appropriate medical treatment available.

Expanding the number of students for an on-campus experience in spring 2021 will enable ESU to better gauge how the campus community will handle the responsibilities of personal safety, as well as the safety of one another, and make necessary adjustments for our Fall 2021. Long added that he and his leadership team made the decision to announce a mostly in-person Fall 2021 semester early because so many students and colleagues indicated that “there’s nothing like being back on ESU’s campus.” He notes there will still be some online classes in Fall 2021, but the volume of courses will be in person. The key to a successful opening in Fall 2021 will rely heavily on the entire campus community adhering to CDC and PDOH recommendations, primarily wearing face covers, practicing social distancing, sanitizing common areas, and hand-washing.

“My hope is that we will return to a robust academic year in Fall 2021 with students, faculty, staff and visitors coming back to campus for a comprehensive, normal college experience. While we cannot predict the future nor ignore the health risks we continue to experience with this pandemic, our resolve is optimistic. I can hardly wait for students to return. We have a lot of catching up to do.”