Information about Fall 2021

Dear Kent State University Students, Faculty and Staff,

The start of Fall Semester 2021 is still months away, but we are diligently working on plans to make it a great success.

We understand that many of you have questions about the fall semester. As President Todd Diacon shared with us last week, the timeline for the end of the pandemic is not clear and regularly shifting. However, we are optimistic, and the university’s goal is to approach a more normal level of operations with more opportunities for in-person learning and activities. This strategy is driven by the assumption that all adults who want to be vaccinated will have been by the start of the fall semester. 

We want to share with you what we know at this point to help inform your decisions as you plan to schedule classes and make living arrangements for the summer and fall.

In-Person Classes

As we follow federal and state recommendations on pandemic safety, we will need to continue to maintain some level of physical distancing in the classroom during the fall semester. Currently, that distance remains at 6 feet but could change based on state and federal public health guidelines. 

We will offer substantially more in-person classes in the fall, and we are taking steps to make that happen, including the use of additional, off-campus building space at locations within walking distance of the Kent Campus. There also will be more classes offered in the evening and on Saturday to expand the maximum number of in-person courses we offer while still following physical distancing guidelines. For these reasons, we have delayed the opening of course registration for the fall semester to allow us as much time as possible to make these arrangements. The new registration timeline is:

  • Monday, April 12: Fall 2021 schedule of classes available in FlashFAST.

  • Friday, April 23: Course registration begins. Visit the fall registration website for the dates for your time to register.

It is likely that the in-person courses will have a smaller number of students per class to accommodate physical distancing requirements. We believe this can be a benefit to all as learning in a classroom with fewer students offers each student more individualized attention from their instructors.

Please understand, however, that because of anticipated smaller class sizes, any student who enrolls in an in-person class will be expected to attend. Faculty members who are teaching in-person classes are not obliged to also offer the course in a remote format. Those who sign up for an in-person class will be expected to attend in person. However, should a COVID-19 illness, isolation or quarantine arise, instructors will follow university policy and work with any student after a legitimate absence to complete missed assignments. 

COVID-19 Testing

Our aggressive campaign for COVID-19 testing has paid off this spring semester with our cases of COVID-19 at less than 1% of all those tested. Testing will remain part of our strategy for the summer and fall, and students living in residence halls will have mandatory testing. Our specific testing protocols will be shared closer to the start of the summer session and the fall semester, and they will be guided by both the number of COVID-19 cases and the rate of vaccination.

Housing

Students who need to stay in campus housing past April 17 must sign up for summer housing. Students who stay past April 17 will be assigned to a deluxe single room with a private bathroom in Stopher Hall or Johnson Hall. 

For the fall semester, we expect the number of people living in university housing to increase to near capacity. All residence halls will be in use except Centennial Court E, Centennial Court F and Verder Hall. These three halls plus Van Campen will be used for quarantine and isolation needs. Students living on campus this fall will be assigned to single- or double-occupancy rooms only. Additional details, including a staggered move-in schedule and residence hall policies for the fall, are being reviewed; all updates will be provided in the coming months. 

Again, anyone living in university housing for the summer session or the fall semester must participate in mandatory COVID-19 testing.

Vaccines

Kent State will not, at this time, make COVID-19 vaccinations a requirement for anyone. However, we will revisit this possible requirement once all vaccines receive formal approval from the Food and Drug Administration, as opposed to the emergency use authorization the vaccines have now. 

In the meantime, we strongly encourage everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine if they have the opportunity. The university is not currently a distribution site for the vaccine but could become one in the future as vaccine supplies become more plentiful. Remember to check our vaccine website for any updates on vaccine distribution.

If you have the chance to get vaccinated at any time, “Flash your arm” and get your shot. The more our population gets vaccinated, the closer we believe we can get to approaching more traditional operations and still ensure the health and safety of our university community. Understand though, that even with widespread vaccinations, we expect to continue wearing face coverings, practicing some level of physical distancing on campus and following our Flashes Safe Seven protocols through 2021.

Additional Decisions

Many more decisions about the fall semester – including study abroad programs, athletic events and cocurricular activities – will be made in the coming weeks. We pledge to keep you apprised of all changes and details as soon as we are able so that you can make informed decisions for the upcoming academic year. 

This pandemic has challenged us in ways we never could have imagined, but we have met those challenges and have had great success despite them. I am confident our success will continue throughout the 2021-2022 academic year.

Sincerely,

Manfred van Dulmen, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
Interim Dean of Graduate Studies
Chair, Pandemic Leadership Committee

POSTED: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 4:25pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - 10:38am
WRITTEN BY:
Manfred van Dulmen, Ph.D., Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs