Seton Hall returning to ‘primarily’ in-person instruction next fall

Nyre: We are creating schedule that anticipates in-person classes, activities with considerable number of people

Seton Hall University President Joseph Nyre announced Thursday that the school is planning and preparing to return to a primarily in-person instruction in the fall — plans that include welcoming the full contingent of students back on campus.

“Our plan is to have Seton Hall operate to the fullest extent that is permitted under government guidance and appropriate health and safety protocols,” he said in a letter to the school community.

Nyre said the school is making plans for a full return.

“We are planning a fall semester that is primarily in-person and look forward to welcoming students back to campus,” he said.

“We are creating a schedule that anticipates in-person classes and activities with a considerable number of faculty, staff and administrators on every campus. And we are anticipating that our physical infrastructure (academic buildings, residence halls, dining, athletic and recreational facilities, and the University Center) will return to full or nearly full operation.”

The plans for the summer sessions — there are three — are not as concrete. Seton Hall officials said they will be determined by the current health metrics and state regulations, as well as the different needs of the particular courses or programs.

Nyre said all plans could change should the situation around the pandemic change. But, he said he feels comfortable making the announcement regarding the fall schedule due to recent events.

“Increased surveillance testing is producing valuable insights that better help the university respond to the pandemic,” he said. “The national virus count — though still elevated — shows signs of decreasing. Vaccine distribution continues to accelerate, and we have the benefit of a newly approved third vaccine.

“President (Joe) Biden recently announced there will be enough doses to vaccinate every American adult by the end of May. Gov. (Phil) Murphy anticipates the state’s K-12 schools will be back, in person, this September. And springtime will be here in a matter of weeks.”

Seton Hall, Nyre said, remains committed to making the right decisions, as expressed through the Seton Hall Pledge.

“As we have learned, COVID will be with us for the foreseeable future,” he wrote. “But, we also know that being together, safely and in-person, is a vital part of who and what we are as a university community.

“Guided by our existing Restart Plan and in consultation with the Health Intervention and Communication Team, we are developing approaches that will bring our fall 2021 plans to fruition. We will share additional details with you as they become available. Until then, please continue all you are doing to keep yourselves and each other safe and healthy; we must remain vigilant in our actions.

“Together, we have persevered through circumstances not seen in more than a century. Together, we will overcome these challenges. I look forward to the days when we will again gather together to celebrate and enjoy all that unites us as members of the Seton Hall community.”

Seton Hall seemingly has been a leader in restart programs. It was the first university in the state to announce its plans for this school year — doing so with a hybrid model that was similar to the plans many schools around the country eventually adopted.