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Westminster College will continue in-person instruction for fall 2021

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Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Westminster College plans to resume full in-person instruction for the fall 2021 semester while anticipating a return to a more normal campus experience for students.

Westminster College President Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson announced the College plans to continue in-person learning and on-campus residency in the fall, citing the College’s strong preparedness plan that enabled students and employees to successfully navigate the COVID-19 pandemic on campus this academic year.

“Through good planning and hard work, we have been able offer our students an in-person, residential educational experience since their return to campus in August 2020. Our students’ and employees’ dedication to mask wearing, physical distancing and handwashing have helped keep our community safe—and I am so grateful and proud of everyone’s efforts,” said Richardson.

After shifting exclusively to online instruction on March 19, 2020, Westminster reopened for the fall 2020 semester on Aug. 17 with an adjusted calendar and three different learning formats—face-to-face, hybrid and online. While many colleges and universities across the nation suspended on-campus learning last fall—or had to temporarily switch to all virtual learning—because of COVID outbreaks, Westminster has remained in-person all year.

“We feel confident, especially based on the commitment of the campus community this year, that Westminster can safely continue in-person instruction next fall,” she said.

While Westminster officials are hopeful for a more normal college setting next year, they remain committed to following all state and federal coronavirus protocols. Students and employees are strongly urged to get vaccinated in preparation for the fall 2021 semester.

“Although we don’t know what the guidelines will be, we will continue to comply with recommendations of the CDC and the Commonwealth,” Richardson said.

Despite masking and social distancing mandates, Westminster provided engaging student experiences throughout this school year. Student musicians performed via livestreamed concerts, students networked with alumni and other industry professionals through a virtual Professional Networking Symposium and the Office of Student Affairs offered numerous outdoor and virtual activities to keep students engaged.

While the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) postponed all fall sports, student-athletes were able to return to competition for modified fall, winter and spring seasons this term. The Titans have won three PAC championships in diving and one in men’s basketball so far this term, with many teams continuing competition. The new UPMC Sports Complex lacrosse and soccer field and the new baseball and softball fields have provided ample space for practice and competition for the many Titan teams now playing.

This fall, orientation for Westminster’s first-year and transfer students will be held from Aug. 27-29. Classes resume for all students on Monday, Aug. 30.