The Charger Blog

Creating a Culture of Preparation Best Positions University for Success in Fall 2021 – and Beyond

Having been as successful as any institution in mitigating the impact of the virus and continuing to provide meaningful educational experiences in and out of the classroom, the University of New Haven is looking forward to the start of the 2021-22 academic year when the hope and expectation is the impact of the pandemic will be significantly reduced.

April 30, 2021

Chargers flag
University of New Haven leaders are confident the Fall 2021 semester will be a return to many pre-pandemic norms.

With widespread availability of several highly effective COVID-19 vaccines, University of New Haven leaders have a high degree of confidence the University will be able to return to many of its pre-pandemic norms in terms of class formats, student life, and other staples of the Charger experience.

In a recent email to the University community, President Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D., announced that if the number of COVID-19 cases are low and controlled, and if the University community attains an 85 percent level of natural or acquired COVID-19 immunity before July 1, 2021, the anticipation is the following policies would be in place for Fall 2021:

  • Classrooms with reduced physical distancing
  • Most classes offered in person combined with a large selection of online classes available for those seeking that format
  • Visitors and guests to be allowed on campus and in residence hall rooms
  • Dining halls to operate at full capacity
  • Student club and organization meetings, in-person student programming, and informal gatherings to take place with fewer restrictions on meeting size and physical distancing
  • Intercollegiate varsity competition to take place with students and family members in attendance as fans. Intramural activities, club sports, and in-person wellness programs would also resume.

“As one of Connecticut’s recognized leaders in COVID preparedness and response, the University is committed to maintaining the college experience while doing so in a safe manner,” said Summer McGee, Ph.D., CPH, dean of the University’s School of Health Sciences and COVID coordinator who has become a much sought-after expert to comment on the impact of and the response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Our campus continues to have one of the lowest COVID case numbers in the state because Charger Nation is committed to campus health.”

'We have confidently overcome unprecedented challenges'

The University, says President Kaplan, has long prided itself on being prepared for all eventualities – and instilling that mindset in its students.

That’s why, he says, the University has excelled in protecting its community from COVID-19 and in continuing to provide rewarding curricular and co-curricular opportunities despite the widespread impact of the global pandemic.

“This is a credit to everyone in our community,” said President Kaplan. “Over the past year, we have confronted – and confidently overcome – unprecedented challenges and obstacles that have impacted in far-reaching ways how we live, learn, work, and interact with others. We all should take great pride in how our community has responded, and be proud of all you have continued to achieve facing such adversity.”

Safety is 'our paramount priority'

Depending on vaccination levels in the University community and local public health conditions, the University may continue certain public health measures to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of our University community, President Kaplan shared. These measures will be based on health guidance at the time. Fully vaccinated individuals will not need to complete surveillance testing in the Fall.

If the University reaches its 85 percent vaccination goal, there may also be the opportunity for further reduced physical distancing; full-capacity classrooms, labs and events; on-campus guests without testing; and other returns to normal operations.

Above all, President Kaplan stressed, the University will continue to plan for every eventuality.

“As always, all decisions will continue to be made with the safety and well-being of our University community as our paramount priority,” said President Kaplan.

'I felt at home'

More than 11,000 students have applied to be part of the University’s incoming Class of 2025. The University is on track to welcome one of its largest, most diverse, and most competitive classes in its 101-year history. Incoming members of the Class of 2025 can submit their enrollment deposit to officially join Charger Nation.

Among the incoming Chargers is Saige Batza ’25, who will major in psychology.

“As soon as I set foot on campus, I felt at home,” she said. “I felt closer to my dream than ever before. I look forward to watching my dream come true with my future set at the University.”

“The University of New Haven is not only the best choice for me, but for furthering my education so that I will have a successful career,” added Hannah Fitzgerald ’25, an incoming cybersecurity and networks major. “Being able to further my education at a great school is an amazing opportunity that I am so grateful to have.”