ABILENE, Texas — Abilene Christian University announced Thursday it will return to a fully in-person learning and living environment on campus in the summer and fall 2021 semesters.
Existing masking and distancing protocols will remain in place during the summer, with face coverings required indoors and encouraged outdoors when physical distancing is not possible, according to a press release from the university.
“We believe this is in the best interest of our campus community until more people can become vaccinated. Our top priority is always to provide a safe campus environment for our students, faculty and staff,” Dr. Phil Schubert, president, said in the release. “We will continue to monitor the COVID landscape throughout the summer and into the next academic year, and apply health and safety restrictions as needed.”
A more traditional environment is planned for the fall, however, without face coverings and with classrooms and residence halls at normal capacity.
While ACU highly recommends people get vaccinated, the university does not plan to require students to be vaccinated prior to enrollment, which is consistent with requirements for other types of vaccines.
If the State of Texas mandates such vaccinations in the future, students would be given an opportunity to seek an exception for personal or religious reasons.
“In the fall, we look forward to a greater sense of normalcy and welcoming back large-group Chapel gatherings, athletic events and a full slate of student programs and activities,” Schubert said.
In the last year, the university has reconfigured classrooms to allow for social distancing, enhanced sanitization procedures, reduced capacity for gatherings, required masks in all indoor settings, implemented contact tracing and quarantine protocols and provided free COVID-19 testing to faculty, staff and students.
“As university life begins to return to normal, I want to thank our faculty and staff. Their flexibility, innovative approaches and amazing resilience are what made this year successful,” Schubert said. “And, I want to congratulate our students for weathering this unusual year and forging ahead. Despite the challenges, we felt their energy and saw their resolve as they made the most of this unpredictable year.”
For more information, go to acu.edu.