Colleges push for return to on-campus normalcy starting next academic year

Some college students have learned what the future may hold when it comes to on-campus learning.

After COVID-19 stole away the college experience, some universities want to get students back in the lecture halls.

The pandemic has taught us that a lot can change between now and the fall semester, but some area universities are hoping for the best. They are now making plans for a more traditional college experience.

Indiana University announced the fall 2021 semester on all campuses will be in-person and that the university expects the fall semester will see a return to mostly normal operations.

IU is strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they’re eligible.

Dr. Shikha Jain of the University of Illinois at Chicago says vaccines are important for getting back to school, but not absolutely necessary.

"I think that it is absolutely true that college students should get vaccinated as soon as they can. I don't think it's necessary for all of them to be vaccinated for in-person learning to resume. But I do think we need to see the majority of people vaccinated in order to see it safely resuming," Dr. Jain said.

The University of Wisconsin system says it plans to resume as much of an in-person campus experience as possible this fall, with a goal of at least 75% of all classes being in-person.

Illinois State University is also looking ahead to the 2021-2022 academic year. It is planning for a more traditional campus experience and will offer as many face-to-face courses as possible.


ISU also says there will be more students living in on-campus housing.

"We need to be aware that there are different states that have different levels of amount of disease of COVID-19 spreading within their state and that's something I think that needs to be considered and taken into account," Dr. Jain said.

Dr. Jain thinks it is possible to have in-person learning, but says you have to make sure that masks are still a part of everyday life in order to do it safely, especially with these new variants of the virus.