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Message Sent To:All Faculty
Message From:Message from the Office of the Provost
Date Sent:Tuesday, March 9, 2021 12:45 PM CST

Fall Semester 2021 Reopening Plans

March 9, 2021

Dear Faculty,

I am happy to share that we plan to return fully to our Chicagoland campuses in fall 2021 with in-person classes and residence hall occupancy. This decision was based on the best available data and intelligence. We will return to the campuses with the health, safety, and overall wellness of our community in mind.

Since the pandemic began, Loyola University Chicago has continuously monitored the spread of the coronavirus. We have used this information to implement protocols and plans based on the guidance of public health experts both inside and outside of Loyola on what is legally allowed and medically advisable (L.A.M.A.). We are now optimistic about in-person instruction in the fall. The reasons for our optimism are as follows:

  • Health and safety protocols: Our on-campus surveillance testing program has been successful. Similarly, compliance with mask wearing and social distancing has been high. Therefore, the COVID-19 positivity rate in our community has been low, and we have seen little evidence of transmission in classrooms or residence halls this spring.  
  • Positive trends: Generally, the local COVID-19 transmission rate is moving in the right direction.  
  • Vaccine distribution: Current federal projections indicate that there will be enough vaccine supply for all American adults by the end of May. Thus, the majority of our Loyola community likely will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by the start of the fall semester. 

Given the progress made on vaccinations and significantly lower infection rates during the past several weeks, we expect that these positive trends will continue. Therefore, we anticipate that normal operations, including in-person instruction, will fully resume. 
 
To reach this goal, the University asks that its faculty members teach mostly in person this fall to help us create a more traditional on-campus experience for our students. Pre-pandemic online programs and courses that better serve students in an online format should remain online. However, most instructors should plan for in-person courses. All of us long to be back on campus. We believe that fall is the right time for us to regain so much of what was deferred during the pandemic. This will, of course, require all of us—faculty, staff, and students—to stay vigilant as a community and comply with health and safety guidelines. This pandemic has taught us to be flexible, resilient, and adaptable to shifting conditions.   
  
We understand that the request for faculty to return to our campuses has limitations. Chicago and Illinois may still impose restrictions on us in the fall, and some faculty members may have reasons not to take the vaccine now. We will respect these government and faculty restrictions and will have mechanisms to deal with them. However, notwithstanding these restrictions, we believe that we will be able to return as fully as possible to in-person teaching. 
  
The University has already taken important steps toward reopening our campuses. Few on-campus classes took place during fall 2020. In spring 2021, Loyola welcomed back roughly 1,000 residential students and significantly increased the number of in-person classes. This summer, we will continue to grow the number of in-person classes and will again host residential students. I extend my deep thanks to faculty who volunteered to teach in person this academic year. I am thankful to the staff in Residence Life, Admissions, and other departments who have been on campus regularly. Thank you all for paving the way for us. 
  
Many details about the fall are still being worked out, and we welcome your questions at covid-19support@LUC.edu. Moreover, we will continue to ask for faculty input for ensuring a smooth fall semester through your respective departments, programs, and deans. In addition to the vaccine webinar held last week, we hope to offer additional webinars as needed as we move through the fall planning process.    
  
Together, we will welcome our community back to campus and back to a stronger Loyola. 
  
Together in Loyola,   
  
Norberto M. Grzywacz, PhD   
Provost and Chief Academic Officer