Return to Campus; Preparing for Fall 2021, June 1, 2021

Dear Faculty and Staff,

The 2021-2022 academic year is just a few months away and we are ready and excited to welcome you back to campus! Since March 2020 we’ve been working on Return to Learn planning to keep students learning, and university operations running during the pandemic. Now, we conclude the Return to Learn structures and launch Return to Campus.

As we look at the fall new student enrollment predictions, we are roughly 500 new and transfer students behind our normal numbers. Students across the nation have taken a wait and see approach. If the university experience is going to be largely remote-learning, they are opting out. This has significant implications for the university, and our employees.

So we are sharing a simple message with our students, as well as faculty and staff. We’re back. While we will still have some on-line only courses as we typically do in every academic year, we are looking forward to the majority of our courses in the fall being taught face-to-face. We are excited to have students and faculty back together in the classroom again!

In order to prepare our campus for a more typical fall semester, we need to begin the process of returning all university employees who have not yet transitioned back to campus or other university-designated workspaces. During the time period of Tuesday, July 6 to Monday, August 2, employees are expected to fully transition back to your on campus, or other university-designated workspace. Your supervisor will communicate transition timelines with you over the next few weeks. Please discuss with them any questions or concerns you have so they can be addressed. Please note, this timeline does not include teaching faculty who resume duty days on Monday, August 16.

To make our Return to Campus happen we’re encouraging all employees and students to get vaccinated and continue to practice good public health behaviors (e.g. wash your hands, stay home when sick, mask if not fully vaccinated). Individuals may still choose to wear a mask if desired; however, individual offices, departments or classrooms cannot require mask-wearing or vaccines of employees or students.

We will continue to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines about social distancing. We are encouraged about the trends and believe we can prepare for classroom, residence hall and venue occupancy to being close to normal. As always, we can adjust as needed.

Thank you for your commitment to our University and students. We are excited to have everyone returning to campus soon!


Richard Davenport