BLOOMINGTON — Indiana University announced on Wednesday that it plans to have in-person classes for its fall 2021 semester with a return to "mostly normal operations."
"This decision has been made on the basis of advice from IU's medical and public health experts who have been leading the university's comprehensive and successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly a year now," IU President Michael McRobbie said. "It has also been made possible because of the dedicated, determined and creative actions of our students, faculty and staff, to whom we are deeply grateful."
The university said positivity rates have fallen below 1 percent recently in part because of health and safety policies that have been put in place to safely allow as many on-campus academic, research and creative activities as possible.
Mitigation testing of IU students, faculty and staff has played a role in allowing IU to manage COVID-19 on campus with tens of thousands of test completed across the university each week. The university is also encouraging everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.
"Having the vast majority of the IU community vaccinated against COVID-19 will be one of the keys to allowing an increase in in-person courses and activities on campuses this fall," Aaron Carroll, director of mitigation testing and associate dean for research mentoring and distinguished professor of pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine, said. "All of the vaccines currently available are highly effective. Plus, our testing data continues to show very manageable levels of COVID-19 on our campuses. We are optimistic that shoulds the current trends continue, we'll be back on campus together this fall."
University officials said there will likely still be some health and safety precautions in place, however, the extent of the precautions will depend on the state of the pandemic and how many people are fully vaccinated.
"As we have learned from the experience of the past year, in the face of this deadly pandemic we cannot set any of our plans in stone," McRobbie said. "As long as the pandemic is with us, we must be ready to adjust course rapidly, and we will constantly review our plans, activities and operations.
"However, because of the outstanding efforts of the entire IU community on all campuses across the state in successfully battling the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year, I am very confident that we will see a successful return to mostly normal university operations in the fall."