Return to Normal Operations Planned for Fall
Galloway, N.J. _ Based on projections for COVID-19 vaccine availability and access, Stockton University plans to open the Fall 2021 semester with normal capacities for classes, housing and student activities.
“We have missed the energy our almost 10,000 students bring to campus,” said President Harvey Kesselman. “We are excited to welcome them back, but we will also continue to implement whatever measures are necessary to protect the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students.”
Kesselman said the cooperation of faculty, staff and students in adapting to COVID-19 guidelines has made him confident the university can successfully resume on-campus activities while also continuing to adapt where necessary.
“Technology provided new ways to reach students, but it also convinced us of the advantages of in-person learning and collaborating with students in the classroom,” Kesselman said. “Stockton will celebrate its 50th anniversary of teaching in 2021-22 and just being back in the classroom will be part of that celebration.”
Currently almost 70% of fall classes are expected to be held in person, with about another 16% as hybrid classes with some in-person component.
Student Senate President Katherine Campion, said students are more than ready to come back to campus, even if they may still have to take some precautions like wearing masks.
“Students want interaction,” Campion said. “For me, Stockton is not just a place, it’s a community. It’s about making connections and relationships, and students have missed that. I am very excited about coming back.”
Employees and students continue to submit the daily Health Pledge, which assists in minimizing the spread of the virus. More than 1 million pledges have been submitted since the fall. Stockton also offers free COVID-19 testing on campus for students and employees.
The University Resilience Operations Committee (UROC), a collaborative team of students, faculty, and staff will continue to meet to address any ongoing issues as fall plans are finalized.
“The past year has been an incredibly challenging time for all members of our community, and the pandemic has exacerbated inequities among different populations,” said Professor of Writing and First-Year Studies Emari DiGiorgio, who is also co-chair of the UROC. “Through UROC, we've learned a lot about what Stockton does best and how we can improve. As we return to campus, it will be important to identify and respond to the new normal and to listen to our students and colleagues.”
Outdoor Commencement ceremonies are tentatively planned over several days in May. Specific plans are still being developed in accordance with state guidelines for gatherings.