Dear ETSU community,
During the past twelve months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned a great deal about ourselves and our university. We successfully shifted and adapted to the challenges that were presented to us, while remaining steadfast to our mission. I am proud of our faculty for the manner in which they quickly adopted new teaching modalities and course delivery methods in order to ensure the success of our students. I am proud of our students for the manner in which they have remained focused on their academic success and committed to our safety protocols. While campuses around the nation struggled, we thrived because of the values of our student body and their willingness to embrace flexibility, creativity, and new ways of learning. Furthermore, I am proud of our staff who have been steadfast in their work to keep our campus open, safe, and operational as they adapted to new processes in order to sustain our business operations and the work of this university.
As we progress through the spring semester, it is appropriate for us to turn our attention to the 2021-22 academic year. Given the promise of multiple vaccines and the opportunity to realize widespread vaccinations across our region this summer, ETSU has begun planning for an increased on-ground campus presence for fall 2021 with the majority of academic instruction occurring in-person. We are also preparing for increased occupancy in our residence halls. Additionally, ETSU plans to restore in-person activities and events that will allow students to enjoy experiential learning, campus life, and community engagement opportunities while keeping safety at the forefront. Concurrently, we are exploring ways to safely transition our employees who have been working from home back to their campus offices.
While we currently are operating in Modified Stage 2, senior leadership is working closely with the Medical Response Team to finalize plans for the summer and fall semesters using the stages defined by the Future Operations Work Group in summer 2020. There are many questions about how we will operate in the “new normal,” and we recognize that plans are subject to change. Our Bucs Are Back website will continue to serve as the primary information portal regarding our COVID-19 response as well as any details regarding vaccine distribution as it becomes available. The website also includes an updated schedule for Drop-in COVID-19 testing.
In closing, I am extremely pleased by how our campus community has adopted a culture of resilience and perseverance, and I am encouraged by the promise of what lies ahead for us throughout the summer as we prepare to welcome our students back to campus for the fall semester. Thank you for your patience and for all you do for ETSU. I will share more information about summer and fall in the weeks to come.