Just over a year after the COVID-19 pandemic caused it to pivot to remote learning, Emory University announced on March 24 that it will welcome all students back to campus for the Fall 2021 semester.

According to a statement by Emory University President Greg Fenves, the university’s COVID-19 Task Force, in consultation with public health experts, has concluded that the expected widespread availability of the vaccine for students, faculty, and staff, Emory’s established pandemic-related public health protocols, and an anticipated downward trend in COVID-19 cases in the area will support a higher concentration of people on campus for the 2021-2022 academic year.

“This is welcome news for many of us who miss the interactions that occur not just in classrooms but throughout the school in hallways, Cannon Chapel, the atrium, and in Pitts Theology Library,” says Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs Jonathan Strom. “These connections build community and allow us to forge relationships that are an important part of life at Candler.”

The ongoing pandemic will continue to impact the structure of academic and community life at Candler this fall, and some students and faculty may be unable to return in person due to health or other reasons. Students who are not able to return to in-person learning can still make progress toward their degrees through Candler’s online offerings.

Details of the fall plan are below:

  • The academic year will begin at its normal start time, with August-term, the Labor Day holiday, Fall Break, and Thanksgiving holiday occurring as published in Candler’s academic calendar.
  • Candler will continue to offer a mix of in-person, online, and hybrid courses, with approximately 70% of classes held in person and 30% online.
  • Classroom seating will be limited to  50% of normal occupancy.
  • All individuals on campus will be required to continue certain public health protocols, such as wearing face coverings, maintaining recommended physical distance, and testing as required by Emory.
  • In-person events will be permissible within certain guidelines, and other events will be offered online.

Says Strom, “This will be a transitional year requiring flexibility and creativity, both on the part of the institution and its students as we continue to respond to a fluid public health situation. In whatever ways community members are able to engage, we look forward to sharing together in new experiences.”