Duquesne University plans to return to a full on-campus learning environment and regular
student life operations for the fall 2021 semester. The University will use its summer
semester to phase its workforce fully back into offices, to coordinate spaces to optimize
safety even after it returns to full capacity and to update facilities as necessary
to ensure ongoing best practices in health and safety.
Due to the success of present safety measures-including distancing, masking and hygiene practices-as well as the steady increase in vaccination rates and decline in infections and hospitalizations, the University's health professionals and local health authorities project that a safe return to in-person classes and activities is possible. Duquesne will continue to monitor conditions and prioritize the safety of its students, faculty and staff on campus.
Planning will include ensuring the ability to adjust safety measures if conditions require it. Some hygiene and sanitation practices will remain in effect as preventive measures. Duquesne's focus will remain on keeping the campus community safe so that students can continue to make progress toward their academic goals.
"Many students choose Duquesne as much for our community as they do for the programs we offer," said Duquesne President Ken Gormley. "Being here in Pittsburgh and learning together on campus matters. Our students and faculty weathered this past year in impressive fashion and showed that we can be safe, adjust as necessary and continue reaching for bigger goals. The public health news is encouraging, and while our region still has a ways to go until things are fully normal, I have enormous faith in the Duquesne community's ability to launch a much more typical semester in the fall."
During its preparations for remote and asynchronous instruction, Duquesne accelerated installation of technologies for HyFlex classrooms. Some courses offered in the fall will still have virtual and in-person components, or a blend of the two modes, to maintain options for students.
"We learned a great deal and made some innovations during the time when we had to be remote, and we will keep some of what we learned for future classes," said Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. David Dausey. "We won't just be returning to business as usual-we'll be returning to something like a new-and-improved business as usual."
Duquesne's preparations go beyond academics. The brand new UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, an athletic facility completed during the pandemic, will feature athletic events with in-person audiences, although with reduced capacity limits initially. The Living Learning Centers will retain some protective sanitary procedures. Dining Services will be prepared for a variety of contingencies and, since outdoor dining options and tents were very popular with students, will likely retain some of those features.
Duquesne will share additional information in the coming weeks and months about preparing for the fall and the return of students for the new semester.