Constant consideration of Ferris State University student, faculty and staff safety continues, as plans for the 2021-22 academic year include in-person learning opportunities and social settings in addition to traditional norms, ahead of the start of the Fall 2021 semester on Monday, Aug. 30.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Bobby Fleischman said plans include increased face-to-face laboratory, lecture hall and classroom time for the students and faculty than was offered the previous year.
“Eighty-five percent of the classes that we plan to deliver this fall will be in-class, face-to-face instruction,” Fleischman said. “Online coursework in our Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree programs where working professionals frequently seek to advance their careers remain an important part of our educational offerings.”
While this plan brings Ferris in line with more previously established campus learning ratios, the university’s Re-entry Committee cited COVID-19 data tracker findings as to the rationale for requiring students, faculty and staff to wear protective masks indoors as of Thursday, Aug. 12.
Dean of Student Life Joy Pulsifer said Ferris also encourages the entire campus community to gain immunization for COVID-19.
“We are working hard to restore robust engagement opportunities while following evolving Public Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines,” Pulsifer said. “While the world has transitioned to fewer restrictions over the summer, COVID-19 is still present in our communities and poses a relative risk. We continue to require everyone to complete the daily symptom checker. When anyone is symptomatic, we ask that they stay at their residence, as we encourage all faculty, staff, and students to get vaccinated and keep up on good hygiene practices.”
The Re-entry Committee plans to re-evaluate the requirement and update the campus community before the Fall 2021 semester begins.
“We will continue to take a layered approach to minimize the spread of COVID-19, that includes surveillance testing and wastewater testing,” Pulsifer said. “Our goal is to return to a full in-person learning environment will come with many opportunities to connect in-person.”
That sentiment further applies to activities at the Housing and Residence Life level, along with events overseen by Student Life, including the Bulldog Beginnings events that start as students move into Housing and Residence Life facilities.
“In-person activities are central to the Ferris student experience,” Pulsifer said. “Our planning includes encouraging event organizers to consider opportunities to host large events to do so outside, especially when they are serving food. We will strive for clear communication of event requirements ahead of time in advertisements, written communication and social media posts. Visible signs stating expectations related to COVID-19 at events will be our standard, with these practices being adhered to at the beginning of the event.”
Beyond Bulldog Beginnings events, Ferris Athletics returns to competition with fans in attendance. This return includes the 94th homecoming celebration on Saturday, Sept. 25. In addition, the Alumni Relations office and collaborating groups have selected “Bulldogs Back to Campus” as this year’s theme.