August 20, 2020
Drexel University undergraduate students will attend classes virtually in the fall. The school nixed plans to offer a mix of in-person and online classes after seeing the difficulties other large universities are facing since returning to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"After much consultation and a frank assessment of the situation at large universities that have brought undergraduate students back to campus, we have made the decision that undergraduate courses will continue remotely for the fall quarter, and Drexel University housing will remain closed to undergraduates during the fall term," President John Fry wrote in a letter to the school community on Wednesday.
Drexel's fall courses are scheduled to begin Sept. 21.
Some course for clinical programs in the College of Nursing and Health Professions are the only exceptions to this change. Campus housing will be closed to undergraduate students with the exception of some emergency situations.
Drexel's administrators also have already opted for remote online learning for all undergraduate courses for the college's winter term.
Graduate students will continue with a hybrid learning model for the fall semester.
The university changed course after noticing "incredibly troubling trends" of COVID-19 outbreaks at universities that opened to students and their surrounding communities.
"We have a responsibility to all members of our campus community and to our neighbors — those living in Powelton Village and Mantua," Fry wrote. "What we see happening across the nation on university campuses — outbreaks coupled with high rates of quarantine and isolation — we do not want to happen here."
The university will cancel its planned tuition increase.
The University of Pennsylvania dropped its hybrid learning model for the upcoming fall semester due to concerns of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. West Chester University and LaSalle University also will conduct classes online in the fall.
Several colleges in the Philadelphia-area still plan to hold at least some in-person classes, including Villanova University, Temple University, St. Joseph's University, Bryn Mawr College, and Swarthmore College.
Earlier this month, hundreds of Villanova students were gathered on campus during freshmen orientation, prompting that school's president, Peter M. Donohue, to warn that students would be sent home if they didn't follow the university's COVID-19 protocols. The school is permitting social gatherings, so long as they adhere to safety guidelines and don't exceed set size limits.