USI, UE outlines spring semester plans

Both universities set to begin classes on Tuesday

USI, UE outlines spring semester plans

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A new semester is at hand for thousands of Tri-State college students.

After most of them had an extended winter break, plans are finalized for the second half of the 2020-21 academic year.

14 News is learning additional details from the University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana. COVID-19 testing will be required at only one.

Starting on Saturday afternoon, UE students will be able to return to campus. The spring semester officially begins Tuesday.

University leaders say their plan involves a mixture of in-person and online learning. However, UE’s COVID-19 task force is cracking down.

Part-time and full-time students will be required to either:

  1. Show a negative COVID-19 test result before arriving on campus or taking courses.
  2. Provide documentation that proves a student had the virus sometime over the last 90 days.
  3. Verify the student has received two doses of the vaccine.

Click here to read the full list of requirements for UE students ahead of the spring semester.

14 News also spoke with the University of Southern Indiana’s dean of students.

“Folks needed a break,” Dr. Jennifer Hammat recalled. “And they were happy to have the long break and the ability to take their finals when they did, and to have a break from all of the COVID.”

Similar to UE, classes at USI will resume on Tuesday. This start date was pushed back one week according to its online calendar.

Most students will be learning through online instruction. The exceptions are labs, clinics and additional “hands-on” needs.

“Last semester I had one class in person,” USI senior Casey Cepicky shared. “Everyone was six feet away and sat at their own table. Everything was sanitized before and after class, so even if I had classes in person, I would still feel safe. But, everyone on campus wears masks and social distances.”

Virtual learning is expected to continue ‪through February 6.‬

As of Thursday, campus leaders say only about 500 students have returned. The remaining students are expected to trickle in throughout January and into early February.

A COVID-19 test is not required.

“Part of it is on a resource demand and what we feel we can do reasonably,” Dr. Hammat explained. “If we had to set up and have 1,000 students tested before they can go to a class on Monday, I think that could be a really big challenge for us. At this point, students have been pretty candid in letting us know when they’re not feeling great, or ‘Hey, I don’t know if I need to tell you this, but I was around someone who was around someone.’”

“I personally would probably do it just so I feel better about it, but in the end I feel like it’s just a choice,” Cepicky added.

Click here to read USI’s updated academic calendar.

USI leaders say the tentative plan is to open up in-person learning on February 8.

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