It was exciting to welcome family and friends of our new graduates to campus this past weekend for our first May Commencement in two years! I am grateful to God for his provision, and so proud of everyone whose sacrifice and innovation made the 2020-21 academic year a success as we avoided major COVID-19 outbreaks and kept a healthy balance between prevention and care for those who became sick.
While vaccinations are not required of faculty, staff and students, they are clearly making a tremendous difference in keeping infection rates extremely low on campus and in Abilene, and creating an opportunity for us to have a less restrictive environment.
As you make plans for the upcoming academic year, I want to remind you of our expectations to return in Fall 2021 to as normal a living and learning experience as possible:
|•||Face masks will be optional and we will return to normal physical distancing.|
|•||Courses will be taught in traditional classroom spaces again.|
|•||Our large Chapel gatherings will resume, as will social programs and activities, including intramurals. Fans will be welcome at athletics events.|
|•||Fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to quarantine after exposure. Individuals who test positive will still need to isolate in keeping with Abilene and Taylor County Health Department guidelines. As long as case numbers remain low, we will rely on individuals to make their own best decisions about quarantine.|
We receive constantly evolving guidance from the CDC and local health officials, and are already transitioning to less restrictive requirements in certain campus venues. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 landscape throughout the summer and into the next academic year, and apply health and safety restrictions if needed.
We strongly encourage vaccinations as we look forward to this fall when we can fully celebrate success together! Please remain prayerful with us for God’s grace and continued improvements in public health. Be safe and stay well this summer.
Phil Schubert, Ed.D.