Dear Pitt faculty, students and staff:
I am writing today regarding our planning efforts for the fall term.
First, however, two critical disclaimers: 1) We are still working many details out; and 2) Our plans are subject to change and will change as needed to address our reality come fall.
Vaccination rates are increasing, and based on projections, we expect that sufficient numbers of people will be vaccinated by the end of the summer to significantly reduce the transmission of this virus. Therefore, we are basing our planning for the fall on the expectation that we will be approaching pre-COVID-19 conditions.
What this means for our fall term, then, is a return to on-campus, in-person instruction for the majority of our classes. It also means a return to the full range of on-campus living, learning and research opportunities that are a vital part of the Pitt experience. Health standards will be applied to all activities, so there may be some changes from our operations in 2019, but it will look more like normal than 2020.
While the timing of this announcement may seem odd—and the risk of infection and case counts may continue to rise and fall—we recognize how important it is for you to begin planning for the fall.
At the same time, our current challenges remain, and the Power of Pitt works best when we work together to reduce the spread of infection. Face coverings, physical distancing and good hand hygiene continue to be the most important tools for mitigating the spread of the virus. The vaccination effort is gaining speed, and our medical experts encourage everyone to get vaccinated when their turn arrives.
In the months ahead, flexibility remains key. As I wrote earlier, all of our plans are subject to change as the conditions around us change. We will do our best to keep you informed, and you can always find our latest planning updates online.
For now: Stay tuned and stay well.