On March 2, President Ángel Cabrera sent out an email entitled “Looking Ahead to Fall 2021” to all Tech students and employees in which he described the Institute’s plans “to return to campus with full operations and a complete residential experience.”
The stated details of this plan were brief. However, it seems as if the plan is reliant on the need for fewer public health restrictions in the upcoming months due to an increased number of COVID-19 vaccines.
In the email, Cabrera stated, “We anticipate, by the beginning of the fall semester, being able to once again have full dorms and classrooms, fully productive labs, and the rich campus experiences that students have come to expect of us.”
Reactions to this announcement have been mixed. Some students, ready to shed the negative aspects of their pandemic lifestyles, are thankful for the apparent return to normal.
“Actually so ready for this. Football, in-person classes, clubs meeting again, actually seeing people’s faces … hanging out with more than three friends at a time, plus all the billion other things we are missing out on in college. I support being careful and distancing and everything but … I am ready for this to be over,” posted an anonymous second-year CS “Thank god, I honest to god would have transferred out or taken a gap year because I can’t take GT’s online much more,” said Ray M., second-year physics.
Other students are still hesitant to believe the threat of the virus will be over by fall.
“Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’d feel way more comfortable if Tech mandates that students get vaccinated if they wanna be on campus (unless they can provide a good reason for being unable to,” an anonymous incoming freshman said. Some have stated that they doubt enough Tech students or employees will be vaccinated by the fall for Cabrera’s proposed plan to be safe, pointing to Georgia’s current ranking as 50th in the US for vaccine distribution.
As of the time of publication, the University Systems of Georgia (USG) has not made any announcements about their requirements or thoughts for the fall semester, meaning Cabrera’s email came without a confirmation or accompanying statements from higher leadership.
His announcement about returning to in-person classes, though, is not the only one in Georgia.
Recently, Emory’s president sent out a similar campus-wide communication to students which states that “we are committed to bringing all Emory students back to campus … to reestablish our vibrant learning community.” Communications from SCAD also indicate that the college is planning to return to in-person courses as early as this summer.
An announcement stated, “SCAD is adjusting to make sure our classes, programs, and learning opportunities are available to current and incoming students just as they always have been.”
Information on other Georgia universities’ goals or decisions about the upcoming semesters have not been made publicly available.
In the meantime, before this semester ends and the next one begins, President Cabrera encourages all students to continue following COVID-19 protocols including testing weekly, wearing a mask and socializing outdoors at a distance.