March 12, 2021
Dear Tulane Community:
Now that we are more than midway through the spring semester, we wanted to write to you regarding plans for the fall 2021 semester. We are planning to host a fall semester in which most of the COVID-19 protocols are no longer necessary and the campus experience looks very much like pre-pandemic semesters. Of course, all of our planning is dependent on the state of public health at the time and is subject to local, state and federal guidelines, as well as recomendations from our own experts.
Given the availability of the vaccine and the corresponding reduction in risk, we are planning – with the exception of online degree courses and other digital offerings – for most classes to be held in person rather than remotely. We expect our classrooms and other facilities to return to pre-COVID capacities, with adequate social distancing in accordance with any public health mandates. The first day of class for the fall semester will be August 23. Finals will take place Dec. 13-18, followed by Winter Recess.
One of the most important factors for returning to “normalcy” will be the vaccination rate of our community. As you know, the State of Louisiana has greatly expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines to include more people who have health conditions that may result in a higher risk of disease. If you are between the ages of 18 and 64 (or 16+ if receiving the Pfizer vaccine) and have one of the conditions listed here you are eligible.
It is estimated that the current guidelines make the vaccine available to as many as 3 in 4 adults in Louisiana. We urge everyone who is eligible to receive a vaccine to do so as quickly as possible through the Tulane Vaccine Clinic or at the more than 400 pharmacies and other provider vaccine locations throughout the state. Eligible Tulanians are also urged to seek vaccine through mass vaccinations locations such as Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and other sites throughout our area.
In addition to a return to standard classroom operations, temporary COVID-19 related job modifications, including remote work, which were based on a heightened risk from the virus, may not continue through the remainder of the current semester and will almost certainly be lifted by fall.
We hope you are as excited to hear this news as we are to deliver it. Thank you, once again, for your resilience, flexibility and commitment to Tulane over the past 12 months. This has been a challenging, stressful, often exhausting time for everyone, but one in which our students, faculty and staff have shone. While we have months ahead of continued vigilance in following strict safety protocols, testing, contacting tracing and quarantine/isolation, we can also look forward to returning to the full teaching, learning and working environment we have always known and loved at Tulane.
Michael A. Fitts, President
Robin Forman, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Patrick Norton, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer