An Update Regarding Plans for Fall 2021
March 17, 2021
Dear Faculty and Staff,
I’m writing today to update you on our plans for the fall, when we expect to see NIU begin to transition safely back to the vibrant campus we all know and love. While campus life will continue to be different than in pre-pandemic times, there is cause for much optimism. I want to thank you for your efforts over the past year; NIU’s success in navigating a difficult situation wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of our faculty and staff. I know our students are grateful for all that you’ve done, and continue to do, for them.
Last week we announced our plans for an in-person commencement for the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021. We’re building on that momentum, thanks in no small part to your continued efforts. Our fall plans are coming together because coronavirus vaccines are becoming more widely available. We strongly encourage members of our community to be vaccinated. All employees have received information on how to be vaccinated in DeKalb County.
In the fall, we intend to offer primarily face-to-face classes and student support services, increased capacity for housing (with roommates), and social activities, athletics and events that foster student engagement and success. According to our current plans, roughly 70% of our classes (excluding law) will be conducted face-to-face. The majority of these courses will be fully in-person, although that percentage includes some hybrid modes as well. College of Law faculty members are working diligently to determine the right modality for their faculty, staff and students.
We are evaluating all of our classrooms to ensure that they are equipped with appropriate technology for fall classes. This has been a joint effort of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, the Division of Information Technology and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost to ensure that the voices of faculty and staff are front and center as we purchase and install technology to meet your needs.
Student academic support services will continue to be offered in a variety of formats to meet student needs. While some students appreciated the convenience of an online-advising appointment, others wished for in-person conversations. We will strive to offer options as we move into fall.
As always, our top priorities are community health and safety, and we will continue to follow guidance from public health officials. Many of the expectations outlined in Protecting the Pack, such as surveillance testing, will continue to help support the health and well-being of all Huskies. Please continue to check the Protecting the Pack website as it is updated to reflect current guidance.
We will continue to provide you with updates, including additional guidance regarding on- or off-campus work arrangements, as they become available. This past year has been challenging in so many ways for faculty, staff and our students alike, and we all want campus to return to normal. It’s reassuring to know we’re moving in the right direction. Our Protecting the Pack efforts, and your own vigilance, will again be key to our success.
Executive Vice President and Provost