Idaho State University plans to shift back to full-time in-person instruction this fall.
Like the rest of the state’s public colleges and universities, ISU has offered a mix of face-to-face and online courses this school year. But the availability — and perhaps even an abundance — of coronavirus vaccines changes the picture for 2021-22.
“This development will allow us to safely transition back to in-person learning, to provide the full college experience students want and expect, and to celebrate the campus traditions and activities that bring us closer as a Bengal community,” ISU President Kevin Satterlee said in a news release Wednesday.
College and university staffers and students are not now eligible for vaccines, but they could soon benefit from an accelerated vaccine rollout. On Tuesday, the state said all adults over the age of 55 will be eligible for vaccines by March 22, and all adults over the age of 45 will be eligible by April 5. Vaccines could be fully available to all adults within the next couple months.
This year, more than three-fourths of ISU’s courses incorporated some face-to-face instruction — although many of these classes were hybrid classes with an online component. The coronavirus pandemic also forced Idaho State to retool its 2020-21 calendar; for example, students will get a later-than-usual spring break the week of April 26, one week before finals.
But while Idaho State is moving towards a more conventional campus atmosphere in the fall, the university says coronavirus protocols will remain in effect “as long as circumstances require.” These safeguards include a face mask mandate and continued contact tracing.
“Our personal actions and responsibility are the most powerful tools in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We all must remain vigilant as we focus on a return to on-campus operations,” Satterlee said Wednesday.
Idaho State’s fall 2021 semester will begin Aug. 23.