Mass. State Universities to Reopen Campuses With ‘Blended' Plan This Fall

Schools in Massachusetts' system of state universities plan to resume in-person classes this fall along with some remote coursework

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It will be a "blended" mix of in-person instruction and remote learning as state universities in Massachusetts welcome students back to campus in the fall for the first time in six months.

"We're confident that we can do this, and we can do it successfully and we can do it safely," said Massachusetts State Universities Council of Presidents Executive Director Vincent Pedone.

Pedone says the nine schools that are part of the state university system have been working diligently to come up with a plan that will allow for the hands-on, experiential learning that is the hallmark of so many of their degree programs.

"It's hard to learn how to fix a steam engine down at Mass. Maritime Academy remote, it's hard to learn fine arts at MassArt remote, it's to learn how to be a nurse through an online experience," said Pedone.

He says students should expect that campus life will involve masks and other PPE, and the experience will be different, especially for non-commuter students.

"Our dining halls will have different protocols," said Pedone. "Our residence halls – there's some residence halls that have suites with four students or five students in them, we won't be offering that."

Pedone says state universities are uniquely positioned to make this transition.

"Our state universities don't have these hundred, 200, 300-person lecture halls," said Pedone. "We have a very low, relatively speaking, a very low teacher-to-student ratio."

Pedone says each plan will be tailored to each individual campus' needs, with an overarching framework that follows state and federal health and safety guidelines for returning to on-campus instruction.

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