All undergraduate and graduate students should plan for in-person instruction in the fall semester, according to a memo sent to faculty and staff today from Provost Deborah Prentice and Executive Vice President Treby Williams ’84.
The memo also notes that staff members who are currently remote “will return to campus on a rolling basis as determined by operational progress and need,” but all staff members should plan for a return to campus before the start of the 2021-22 academic year.
It was also announced that the “vast majority” of University-sponsored summer programs will remain virtual and remote, including undergraduate classes, the Freshman Scholars Institute, the Scholars Institute Fellows Program, and the Princeton University Preparatory Program.
Additionally, Prentice and Williams wrote that, “because University-sponsored travel remains prohibited, activities such as international language courses and Global Seminars must also remain virtual.”
These plans stem from the University's “guiding goal” of returning to fully in-person, on-campus instruction for the 2021-22 academic year.
“We want students, faculty, researchers and staff back on campus so that teaching and learning can return to our classrooms, studios, and labs,” Prentice and Williams wrote.
“We also want students engaging in as full a residential life program as possible, taking part in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities that allow them to learn and build community,” they added.
While the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is underway, Prentice and Williams note that this is “not a guarantee that we will be able to return to full, pre-pandemic operations across the University in the summer or fall.”
“There may still be a need for some public health restrictions that impact what we can do and how we can do it,” Prentice and Trebby wrote, “but as President Eisgruber said in his annual letter to the community, ‘We are planning for the fall with the expectation and intention of resuming fully in-person residential instruction.’”
“Returning to in-person operations in all of our activities will be a complex process guided by public health experts, state regulations, and logistical realities,” they added. “Some restrictions will undoubtedly extend into the next academic year.”
Some of those restrictions include an expectation of adherence to CDC and the State of New Jersey’s guidance, regardless of students’ vaccination status.
This memo comes on the anniversary of the University's decision to send all undergraduates home for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.