March 23, 2021
Planning for Fall 2021
Welcome back from Spring Break! I hope you are rejuvenated and ready to close out the spring semester with fully remote learning as planned to avoid spread of the virus back to the campus. I want to thank you all – faculty, staff and students – for your commitment and resolve to maintain the essence of our Bowie State community in many creative ways in the virtual environments. Remember that technology resources are available to support your needs, so we can finish the semester strong.
We have worked well together over the past year to keep the campus safe with aggressive symptom monitoring, testing, sanitizing and social distancing strategies. The shared commitment to our “We Protect Our Own” campaign helped to mitigate the threat of the disease on our campus, while we provided in-person instruction and residential experiences during the execution of our First-Year Intensive Hybrid model.
With the lessons learned from these experiences and the expanding distribution of the vaccine, Bowie State is positioned to begin planning for a full return to campus for fall 2021. We will plan to resume in-person classes, residential housing and campus life programming, with staff returning to normal operation of offices. Results of the campus-wide survey showed broad support among students, faculty and staff for this return, with continued safety precautions.
The COVID-19 Coordinating Team, working with key units across the campus, will develop the details of executing this transition over the coming months. Returning from a yearlong absence will require careful preparation in many areas, so we look to implement a similar phased approach to increasing campus density as was used last summer. As activity expands through the summer, scheduled timelines for staff and faculty to return will be designed to meet specific transition needs. We plan for the Summer Sessions, for example, to include a mix of in-person and remote classes. Other carefully measured actions will begin to energize the campus as we prepare to welcome the next class of new students.
I know that returning to campus after such an extended time will be an adjustment for some. You can be assured that protecting the health and safety of all members of our Bulldog community remains our top priority. We will continue to monitor the progression of the virus, follow the public health guidance of local and state officials, and be prepared to adjust the plan if necessary.
You can expect that the safety precautions now in place on campus – proper mask-wearing, physical distancing, hand washing and sanitizing of work and learning spaces – will continue into the fall. While we wait for approval to offer the vaccine on campus, I urge you to seek information about available sites at the Maryland vaccine website and VaccineFinder. Increasing availability of the vaccine and eligibility expansion give hope that many members of our community will have the opportunity to be vaccinated before the fall.
I am looking forward with great anticipation to seeing all of you back on campus enjoying the lively engagement with each other, collaborating in the classrooms and cheering our Bulldog athletic teams. Students selected BSU for the promised hands-on, caring interactions with faculty and staff to guide their college journey, along with the social and personal development gained through vibrant campus life experiences. It is vitally important that we return to fulfill that promise, which is at the core of our mission.Thank you again for your commitment to BSU!