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March 16, 2021

Chestnut Hill College plans for in-person, on-campus learning during fall semester

Colleges COVID-19
Chestnut Hill College open fall 2021 Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Chestnut Hill College will resume on-campus, in-person instruction during its fall 2021 semester.

Chestnut Hill College has a message for its incoming class of students: "We'll see you in August!"

The small Catholic college on the edge of Philadelphia plans to fully reopen for the fall semester in late August for the first time since March 2020, school officials announced Tuesday.

Chestnut Hill, which has about 1,300 undergraduate students, reopened for its spring semester with a mix of in-person and online instruction. Students now follow safety protocols like testing, social distancing and smaller gathering sizes in classrooms. 

"We are looking forward to having everyone back on campus together to experience the full spirit of Chestnut Hill College," Sister Carol Jean Vale, Chestnut Hill's president, said. "Our students, faculty, and staff have shown great strength and resilience as we navigated the challenges of the pandemic. I'm confident that they will continue to act responsibly to keep our community healthy and safe."

College officials said they decided to reopen the school after a review of the latest guidance out of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The summer 2021 classes for undergraduate students will be offered in a hybrid model, while graduate students and those enrolled in the school of continuing and professional studies will continue with remote instruction.

"We are encouraged by the tremendous progress made by health experts and scientists over the last year," Vale said. "And while we remain vigilant in our planning, we are confident that we can fully reopen while protecting the health and safety of our campus community."

The school's COVID-19 Task Force considered the rate of vaccine distribution in its decision, along with the success the college had working with the NCAA and the Central Athletic Collegiate Conference for the return of spring sports this semester. More information about Chestnut Hill College's plans for the fall semester and COVID-19 protocols can be found on the school's website.

Several Philadelphia colleges are preparing for in-person, on-campus learning to resume in the fall.

Temple University announced this month its plans to bring a "substantial number" of students back to campus next semester. Temple's President Richard Englert said some classes and activities may remain virtual, though dorms, dining halls and academic buildings will open.

University of Pennsylvania officials said in an email to faculty members Monday that they are confident in an in-person return to campus, as well, due to the Biden administration's goal for there to be enough vaccines produced by the end of May to inoculate all Americans. Though, administrators said federal, state and city guidelines could alter their plans.

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