Fall 2021 Plan Update (April 28, 2021)

Dear Lawrence Community, 

A few weeks ago I shared the news that the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team (LPPT), in consultation with campus colleagues and public health experts, was developing plans for Fall Term.  In the meantime, our community commitment to Honor the Pledge has continued to keep infection rates below 0.5% for most weeks during this academic year.  Many members of our community have also diligently pursued vaccination.

Thanks to this shared effort, we can now confirm our plan to return to in-person living, learning, and working this fall.  The university made this decision grounded in the guiding principles that have framed our planning from the pandemic’s inception:  to protect the health and safety of our community; to sustain our academic mission; and to support faculty, staff, and students.  We continue to pair these principles with our core Lawrentian values of community, equity, and student empowerment. 

To protect community health, we will require all students accessing or residing on campus to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.  This requirement begins this summer and joins the existing requirement that students be immunized for various other highly contagious diseases.  Exceptions will be made for medical reasons, religious beliefs, or personal conviction.  Faculty and staff are highly encouraged to be vaccinated.  Aspects of university activity will be restricted to vaccinated individuals in order to sustain community health.  For members of the Lawrence community who are living, learning, or working on campus, the Fox Cities offers several opportunities for vaccination.

 Thanks to the efforts of many, our plans for the fall are now taking shape. 

  • Faculty have worked hard to reestablish in-person classes.  The class schedule provides more specific details.  In person services provided by staff offices are being evaluated and expanded to meet the needs of all constituents
  • The housing lottery has begun.  All residence halls will be available except for 300 South Meade Street (Big Exec) and the guest houses along North Park Avenue, which will be reserved for potential quarantine and isolation needs. 
  • We have relocated new student move-in and orientation from September 6 to September 9.  This orientation will be augmented with online programs provided during the summer for incoming students. 
  • For students currently in their first year at Lawrence, we also plan to provide time before the Fall Term begins to reconnect to campus. 

More information regarding orientation and move-in dates will be shared in the coming weeks.

We know the pandemic will continue to have an impact on campus life.  We will adapt the university’s health framework as the CDC and others provide new guidance.  Additional information will be provided by the LPPT in the coming weeks and months, including: 

  • Updated health and safety protocols, including changes to the Lawrence Campus Community Pledge, surveillance testing, and campus guest guidelines. 
  • New rules for hosting public events and providing public access to campus. 
  • New guidelines regarding employee density in campus offices and departments.  
  • An updated travel policy.  

We are planning a live question and answer session for students and families as well as for faculty and staff within the next few weeks.  Please stay tuned to your email for additional details.  In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about our plans, or other issues surrounding the pandemic, please email coronainfo@lawrence.edu.  Even as we create a framework for the fall, we need to continue to be flexible as new information and conditions unfold.  If adjustments to our fall plans are needed, we will be in immediate communication.  

Examples of our community’s creativity and resilience will always be foremost in my many memories of my time at Lawrence.  Thank you, again, for your commitment to your fellow Lawrentians. 



Mark Burstein

President, Lawrence University