COVID-19 News

Update on Fall Plans & Operational Status | August 24, 2021

Dear Lawrentians,   

It has been wonderful to see the Lawrence campus come to life as new and returning students, faculty, and staff arrive for the start of our academic year.  As we continue our preparations for our return to campus, we write to share updates on the university’s plans for fall and its operational status.  

Thanks to our campus-wide commitment to Honor the Pledge, which includes vaccination, mask wearing, surveillance testing, and other mitigation strategies, we look forward to in-person living, learning, and working this fall. This means:  

  • All members of our community must agree to honor the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge at the beginning of each term. Please complete the Pledge now if you have not done so already.The Pledge includes full participation in COVID-19 surveillance testing and adherence to the campus guest guidelines.  
  • Residential Education is prepared to welcome new and returning student arrivals as in a traditional year, while following our current safety protocols. Please note that Little Exec has been reserved for potential quarantine and isolation needs.  
  • New Student Orientation activities for incoming students will begin on September 9, as well as a sophomore orientation so that a portion of our returning sophomores can experience a more robust welcome to campus.   
  • Faculty are planning for in-person classes. Please consult the course catalog for more specific details.   
  • Staff are returning to campus, and all student-facing offices will be fully staffed by the start of classes on September 13.  

The pandemic has taught us to be agile, which is why we have developed plans to modify our housing processes, course modality, and workplace rules if necessary. Vaccination and masking continue to be the most effective means to mitigate the spread of the virus. To date, we have heard from more than 80 percent of our students, and 96% of responders are fully vaccinated or plan to receive their vaccination upon their return to campus. 4% percent of responders have submitted waivers. 85.6% of our faculty and staff are fully vaccinated. In addition, surveillance testing resumed with the arrival of fall athletes and Summer Institute participants last week (results available on the COVID-19 dashboard). We remain grateful for your dedication to protecting the health and safety of our community. 

Yet the alarming spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 across the nation and in our surrounding community is extremely concerning. While our continued mitigation efforts have kept our campus healthy and safe for the last 18 months, we must rethink and reconsider the campus’ current operational status considering current pandemic trends. Following the protocols and metrics noted in the Stoplight GuidetheLawrence Pandemic Planning Team (LPPT)has changed theuniversity’soperational status to Yellow Light: Open, Moderate Risk. 

The following safety measures will take placeimmediately: 

  • Surveillance testing will be increased. All students will be tested upon their arrival. Beginning on Monday, September 20, all unvaccinated individuals and a larger sample of vaccinated individuals will be tested weekly. Any member of the Lawrence community may participate in weekly testing if they are asymptomatic. Wellness Services will provide more information regarding testing location and procedures soon. 
  • Masking is required indoors regardless of vaccination status.  
  • High-traffic and affected areas like classrooms and Andrew Commons, among others, will be deeply cleaned regularly. 
  • Campus is open to organized guest activity only; access to campus will be granted only via a host or through advanced registration or ticketing. 
  • All campus buildings can only be accessed by keycard. 

The university’s operational status will remain Yellow for the foreseeable future or until evidence suggests we move in a different direction. As we have for the last year, the LPPT will continue to monitor CDC and public health guidelines and consult with local and regional experts throughout the term. If adjustments to our plans are needed, we will be in immediate communication with our campus community.     

It is because of our dedication to one another and our collective resilience that we can return to campus this fall. We look forward to coming together again as a community . . . even in a modified way.  As always, please submit questions to and be sure to read the weekly LU Insider each Thursday for additional updates and other campus news.  

Thank you, again, for your commitment to your fellow Lawrentians.  

Be well and stay well,  
Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team