Lee University announced in a communication to its faculty that the campus is planning a return to fully on-campus, normal operations by the fall semester.
“We are excited about the strong possibility of returning this fall to more of the full Lee experience our students enjoy,” said Lee President Dr. Mark Walker. “All indicators point this direction, and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure a safe, yet less restrictive, campus environment.”
Lee switched to virtual learning mid-semester in spring 2020, at the outset of the pandemic. Practices were later put in place allowing the university to switch to a hybrid format for this past school year.
“Improving trends related to COVID infections and vaccinations give us great optimism about providing a more traditional learning and living experience on campus this fall,” said Dr. Debbie Murray, provost of the university and chair of its COVID19 Task Force.
“Because of the protocols, technology, and other lessons we have learned this year, we actually think we can reach something better than normal – all the things we normally do, with enhancement to our communication and instructional technology and an improved ability to keep our campus community and their loved ones safe and healthy in a world where a novel coronavirus still exists,” said Dr. Murray. “Our top priority has been, and will continue to be, providing a safe environment for our Lee family.
Summer sessions began this week at Lee, both in person and virtually, providing opportunity for the shift toward normal to happen incrementally over the next several months.
One change that is likely to affect not only the Lee community, but visitors to campus, is the mask policy. Whereas previously the university had observed a “masks in motion” policy, effective May 11 masks will be encouraged, but not required while inside campus buildings, and they will no longer be required in outdoor settings unless social distancing is not possible.
While many may celebrate a decision to return to normal operations, university leaders are aware that some members of the university community remain concerned about the effects of the coronavirus for themselves and those around them.
Dr. Murray added that the COVID Task Force would continue to meet, monitor conditions, and make adjustments as needed to protect the safety of all students and employees.
The fall semester will begin with registration on Aug. 16-17, and the first day of classes will be Wednesday, Aug. 18.
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