Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) plans to return to traditional, predominantly face-to-face instruction and operation for the Fall 2021 semester. The plans will resemble the University’s pre-pandemic class format, while also having the ability to convert to alternative course delivery should the need arise.
“We’ve been through nearly a year of emergency operations that have tested our protocols and our perseverance,” Dannelle Whiteside, interim APSU president, said. “It is rare to have such a lengthy scenario, but it has prepared us for future crises.
“We plan to offer many more face-to-face classes, similar to what students would have experienced pre-COVID. Though the pandemic forced us to shift to more online offerings, we have also listened to students who have consistently told us that they need more face-to-face instruction and interaction,” Whiteside said.
The decision comes after the state announced plans for delivering vaccines throughout Tennessee with indications of wide availability by summer 2021.
“The Tennessee State Government, in collaboration with numerous non-governmental partners, has spent months preparing for the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, and will continue to work diligently to ensure that the infrastructure is set to afford every Tennessean to receive the vaccine that wants to receive it,” Scott Brower, chief of staff for the Tennessee COVID-19 Unified Command, said. Brower, who is also Austin Peay State University’s military advisor in-residence, was appointed to the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force last spring.
The University’s COVID-19 command team has met daily since May to assess campus, local and regional case counts and address any challenges of continuing operations under this pandemic. The University successfully fulfilled their plans to offer a mix of face-to-face, hybrid, hi-flex and remote classes through the Thanksgiving break, finishing the fall semester in an online format after the holiday.
“Words cannot describe how thankful I am for our faculty, staff and students for persevering in the most challenging health crisis of our time,” said Whiteside. “I appreciate the diligence, tireless work ethic and patience everyone has shown to help us finish strong.”
While the spring semester is still planned to be a mix of face-to-face, hybrid and online courses, as announced earlier this Fall, the University has increased the number of face-to-face classes it will offer this spring.
The COVID-19 command team will continue to meet daily after the holiday break to assess current health and safety protocols throughout the Spring or until vaccinations appear to be widely available.