Samford University has announced plans to resume normal operations and classroom instruction for the fall 2021 semester. The university anticipates a return to full in-person instruction, athletic and arts events and social activities.
It has been nearly a year since the university initiated extensive pandemic response and continuity of instruction plans in response to COVID-19. During this time, faculty, staff and students adapted to new technology, processes and communication tools to continue university operations and deliver student instruction and learning.
The university’s extensive ongoing pandemic response efforts include health and safety training, the establishment of spaces and protocols for quarantine and isolation, a robust COVID-19 testing program, and an extensive process of contact tracing. As illustrated in the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, positive cases of COVID-19 on campus have remained below state and national trends.
Despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic this academic year, Samford experienced its 12th consecutive year of record enrollment, as well as a student retention rate of 94.5% between the fall and spring semesters. Throughout the pandemic, most course work across undergraduate and graduate degree programs continued to be taught in either face-to-face or hybrid formats in order to maximize the number of in-person learning experiences.
“Through hard work, a collegial spirit and the focus always on students, Samford faculty found ways to persevere through an academic year like no other, renewing their commitment to creativity, innovation and collaboration. The lessons we learned and the technology we utilized are enabling us to make the student learning experience even better,” said Mike Hardin, provost of Samford University.
The university noted that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a fluid situation and plans are subject to change as local state and national health guidance evolves, consistent with directives of local and state government and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The resilience and grace of our Samford community have never been more evident than in the turbulent year of 2020,” said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland. “I have never been so proud of our people, and I am most grateful for the hard work of so many throughout this very challenging year.”