U of M president to recommend resuming in-person classes, reopening residence halls this fall

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel will recommend to the Board of Regents next week that the university resume in-person classes and reopen residence halls, dining facilities and other campus services for the fall semester, amid the coronavirus pandemic

Gabel charged a working group with examining various spaces on the campus—such as classrooms, libraries, housing, dining halls and student unions—in the context of different public health scenarios ranging from minimal physical distancing requirements to significant public health restrictions like a stay-at-home order affecting the entire state. 

In concert with the working group, Gabel plans to share the following recommendations with the board, according to a news release:

  • Resuming in-person instruction and reopening residence halls and dining facilities with adjusting capacities. Courses can be delivered in-person, remotely or through other alternative formats and can transition between modalities as needed.
  • Adjusting the academic calendar to allow the conclusion of in-person instruction by Thanksgiving, or earlier if public health guidance indicates 
  • Personal health monitoring as well as a system of testing, isolation, contact tracing and quarantine implemented on each campus 
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitized practices throughout all university facilities 

The plan is adaptable to the different challenges and health concerns on each of the five U of M campuses as well as to evolving public health conditions. 

“Flexibility is the backbone of this plan,” the university said in a news release. 

The fall plans require final approval from the Board of Regents. The board is expected to review and act on Gabel’s recommendations during next week’s board meetings on Thursday, June 11 and Friday, June 12. 

In March, the U of M suspended in-person instruction for the remainder of the spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic and summer classes are primarily taking place online