Area colleges planning return to campus in fall


As Pitt begins to announce plans for the return to campus in the fall, other universities also are formulating their strategies. Notre Dame led the way in mid-May in adopting a schedule similar to what Pitt plans — beginning in-person classes early on Aug. 10 and finishing up before Thanksgiving.

All of other schools in the ACC, which Pitt competes in, have publicly stated the goal of having campuses open for fall classes.

While most universities plan to have in-person classes, the California State University system announced on May 12 that it will keep its 23 campuses largely shut and teach nearly half a million students remotely. So far, no colleges or universities in the Pittsburgh region have announced plans to stay completely online in the fall. Here’s a look at some area universities’ current plans:

Carlow: A comprehensive COVID-19 re-entry plan is scheduled to be released by the end of June. It will involve a mix of on-campus, off-campus, online and hybrid modes. University staff will be given at least two-weeks’ notice prior to implementing a phased return to campus.

Carnegie Mellon: On May 14, CMU said it is planning for fall semester classes to begin on the previously scheduled date of Aug. 31, under a hybrid model, using in-person and remote instruction.

Chatham: The university will begin a phased re-entry of students, faculty and staff “who require (or will greatly benefit from) a return to campus” on June 15 through July 30. The administration was expected to present a fall plan to the school’s trustees this week.

Duquesne: In May, Duquesne University said it planned to begin on-campus classes as scheduled on Aug. 24. Details of its fall plan will be released later this month.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania: IUP will use different methods to maintain social distancing while still providing in-person instruction. For instance, a class might be divided into teams, with one group physically attending class on a specific day, while another would participate remotely. Technology is being installed in additional classrooms to do this. Classes are scheduled to begin on Aug. 24.

Ohio State: In-person classes will run from Aug. 25 to Nov. 25, with one week of instruction after Thanksgiving and finals being done remotely. Classes will be in session during fall break on Oct. 15-16 and Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving. More plans for social distancing in housing, dining and classes are expected on June 19.

Penn State: On May 19, President Eric Barron told faculty and staff, “We are proceeding with the notion that our objective is to open in the fall for residential education and have the full Penn State that we love so much in operation.” The plan is to announce a final decision about that on June 15. The university has projected losses of $100 million this year and is expecting another $160 million in losses in the education and general budget funds in the upcoming fiscal year. In response, Penn State has furloughed nearly 2,000 employees who don’t currently have work they can do remotely. They will receive 50 percent pay through June and continue to get their benefits. Barron also announced a 3 percent unit reduction, which could result in layoffs for the next fiscal year, and deferring of several capital projects.

Point Park: In May, the university said it would begin classes the week of Aug. 31. On June 4, Point Park said it would announce its full plan for the fall during the week of July 6.

Temple: The university will start on Aug. 24, as previously planned, but will end on-campus classes on Nov. 20. The remaining week of classes, study period and finals will be conducted remotely. Temple will have a blend of in-person and online instruction. Very large classes will occur online and in various break-out sessions. Other classes will occur in person and in hybrid fashion. Face coverings will be required in buildings and encouraged everywhere on campus.

WVU: Students will return to West Virginia University on Aug. 19 and remain on campus, with no fall break, through Nov. 24. There will be one week of online instruction following Thanksgiving, with finals conducted online Dec. 7 to 11. Classroom density will be reduced by 50 percent when possible, by using different teaching methods: in-person, online and hybrid. Students will be required to wear masks while in class, and faculty will be required to wear masks or use plexiglass options. Each faculty, staff and student will receive a Welcome Back Kit containing a cloth mask and disposable masks. WVU furloughed 875 employees starting May 24. Some will return to work June 28, while others will return July 26. The total represents about 13 percent of regular WVU employees. WVU estimates the furloughs will save about $4 million.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.


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