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Auburn University planning more normal 2021-22 for students, faculty

Auburn University planning more normal 2021-22 for students, faculty

The Hill (copy)

Three of the 10 dorms on the Hill will be used again in 2021-22 for COVID-19 quarantine cases. Those dorms, which date back to the 1930s, will eventually be replaced with new ones in the Quad area in the center of campus.

Auburn University officials are planning the 2021-22 year with the assumption that things could inch back closer to life before the coronavirus.

Faculty members have started booking classroom spaces for this fall, with guidance to use pre-COVID-19 conditions as their guide.

“We anticipate fall 2021 being a ‘typical’ semester," Registrar Karen Battye told The Plainsman student newspaper this week.

The newspaper reported Thursday that “classrooms will be allowed to be filled to 100% capacity in fall 2021 based on current data available” – citing an email from Battye to faculty members.

Plans for housing students on campus for 2021-22 will follow along the same lines as 2020-21.

“We are going to open up like we did for fall of 2020 – we will still have three buildings offline (on the Hill) for quarantine housing,” Bobby Woodard, Auburn’s senior vice president for Student Life, told the Opelika-Auburn News. “If an outbreak happens closer, we will go to contingency plans if we need to if the numbers rise.”

Those quarantine dorms were set to be decommissioned last year before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, as part of a long-term plan to build new student housing in the center of campus.

University officials don't expect the coronavirus to disappear between now and then.

“As Auburn plans for the fall, we continue to monitor the pandemic and consider multiple scenarios that will, we hope, allow our campus to resume many of our pre-COVID operations,” university spokesman Preston Sparks stated in an email.

“Currently, we are constructing an academic framework that leverages the structure of on-campus courses with the flexibility of online instruction … As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more available between now and August, we know this additional measure will provide our campus with further protection against the spread of the virus. As always, we will continue to work closely with public health experts throughout our planning and be prepared to adjust, if needed.”

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