UMass Dartmouth to return all students to campus for fall 2021

Mar 7, 2021

UMass Dartmouth officials have announced plans to fully reopen the university to in-person lessons for the fall 2021 semester.

“This is not a decision that was made lightly,” stated Interim Chancellor Dr. Mark Fuller in a letter to faculty and staff dated Feb. 25 and published on the university’s website last week. 

“We need to be very thoughtful in our planning for the fall semester, and we cannot assume that we’ll be able to resume all our activities exactly as they were before the pandemic,” he noted. “That’s why I’ve asked the university’s implementation group to consult with the campus community and begin preparing a detailed plan for our reopening that we can share later this spring.”

In early February, the university announced a virtual commencement ceremony for its Class of 2021, although the postponed ceremony from spring 2020 has yet to take place.

Class of 2020 graduates were instead sent letters of congratulations as well as virtual messages from the UMass community.

Nearly three hundred students have signed an online petition to hold an in-person, outdoor commencement ceremony for both classes this spring.

For next semester, the university’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Shannon Finning wrote in a message to students that the school intends “to welcome all students back to campus, including to our residence halls, and will be planning for activities, programs, events and services that create a vibrant student life experience.”

“Our optimism about fall 2021 stems from UMass Dartmouth’s proven success in keeping the campus community safe and healthy over the past year, combined with the progress being made in state and national vaccination efforts,” she continued. “We are sharing our intentions with you to allow you and your families to better plan for the fall semester.”

More detailed plans for reopening  including plans for reopening athletics, events, clubs and organizations, and other campus activities — will be provided as soon as they are finalized, Dr. Finning wrote.

“UMass Dartmouth will continue to follow Massachusetts health and safety guidelines and monitor and adjust to evolving public health conditions,” she added. “Campus is not the same without all of you here with us and I cannot wait for your safe return in fall 2021!”