Butler University President James Danko announces plans for a return to “normal” for the upcoming fall semester

The University plans to resume normal operations for the fall 2021 semester. 

ELLIE ALLEN | NEWS EDITOR | emallen2@butler.edu

SOPHIA ESTES | STAFF REPORTER | sestes@butler.edu

On March 2, President James Danko announced in a video that Butler plans to return to normal for the summer and fall 2021 semesters. 

The university’s decision comes after other universities, such as Purdue Fort Wayne, announced they anticipate fall semesters with fewer COVID-19 restrictions as well. 

In a video sent via email to the Butler community, Danko said if the current national predictions are correct, campus life will look similar to how it did before the pandemic.

“Thankfully there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Danko said in the video. “We will be prepared to pivot if the situation warrants, but we are cautiously optimistic that life on campus will look much different in fall 2021 than it has over the past year.”

If this is the case, Danko said most classes will be in person at full capacity this fall. However, there is a possibility that a few classes will still be remote and masks may still be required.

The academic calendar is also anticipated to be the same as before the pandemic, with classes starting on Aug. 25. Fall and Thanksgiving breaks will be reinstated. 

The university’s announcement also comes with an update from President Joe Biden on the vaccine rollout. Biden announced that the U.S. will have enough vaccines for all adults by the end of May. This is largely due to the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Additionally, Indiana moved vaccine eligibility to anyone 55 or older on March 2. Hoosiers with certain medical conditions and some military veterans also now qualify to receive the vaccine.

Before Butler made the announcement about the fall semester, junior marketing major Mackenzie Patberg said she was unsure how she would feel about the fall semester being normal due to the uncertainty of the vaccination rate.

“We don’t know what the vaccine is going to look like by the time the next school year comes around,” Patberg said. “If the vaccine is out maybe I won’t have as much anxiety, but it’s still slowly rolling out here in the United States… so just because of the slow rollout of the vaccine I would feel pretty anxious because anybody could have it still. It doesn’t matter that it’s summer time or the new school year. You still have to look out for all of those risks that are involved with COVID.”

However, she also said the prospect of getting back to normal is exciting.

“This could potentially lead to opportunities of us being more in person and being able to do more activities and allow us to actually live a college life instead of just cooped up in a house,” Patberg said.

Butler has not yet announced whether or not students will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Danko said returning to a normal fall semester will take cooperation from everyone. 

“We envision an even more vibrant campus experience this fall,” Danko said. “To reach our goal of returning to a more normal campus life, we all must continue to do our part.”

Staff reporter Sophia Estes also contributed to this story.

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