Readying Drexel’s Return to Campus for September

The following message was sent to the Drexel community on June 10.

Dear Students and Colleagues,

As we continue to confront the challenges of a global pandemic and act with renewed urgency to redress racial inequalities at our University and in the wider society, I hope that you are safe and well and continue to take advantage of the many Drexel resources available to help each of us manage in these difficult and tragic times. This extraordinary moment calls for creative and innovative approaches to academic and student life in an environment that fosters a safe and healthy community, founded upon mutual understanding and an appreciation of the uniqueness of each and every individual.

I’m writing to share information about our plans to return to campus on September 21 to start our new academic year. This will apply for all students other than those from the College of Medicine, Kline School of Law and the College of Nursing and Health Professions, who will begin earlier due to semester calendars or clinical placements.

This academic year will feature a hybrid approach to learning, research and student life designed first and foremost to support the health and safety of students, faculty and professional staff, while also fulfilling the University’s mission of teaching, research and service. Classes will be taught both in person on campus and remotely.

The final confirmation of our plan to return to campus will come when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf determines that Philadelphia can move into the least-restrictive “green” phase of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan. Once that happens, we’ll be ready — thanks to the determination and hard work of the members of the Fall 2020 COVID-19 Task Force.

Over the past month, the Fall 2020 COVID-19 Task Force has worked tirelessly to identify strategies within a variety of possible scenarios to provide the safest and most comprehensive path forward for the coming academic year. The Task Force considered key guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local public health authorities, and monitored news stories, studies and organizational resources on a daily basis. Members met with both internal and external experts, as well as city representatives and researchers, to gain additional insights into best practices and guidelines. This team organized itself in five different subcommittees comprising Academics, Research, Facilities, Health and Safety, and Student Experience.

One principle of the Task Force’s planning work was a commitment to inclusion. Perspectives, feedback and viewpoints were actively solicited from as many constituencies as possible on how best the Drexel community should return to campus.  As a result of these efforts, over 1,300 responses from students, faculty, professional staff, parents and other stakeholders were collected and given careful consideration.

The recommendations made by the Fall 2020 COVID-19 Task Force were based upon the team’s charge to protect the health and safety of Drexel’s students, faculty and professional staff; maintain Drexel’s commitment to educate and serve our community; and preserve the University’s academic, business and administrative operations in order to best serve the campus community.