SALT LAKE CITY — Weber State University officials announced Wednesday that the school will largely return to a traditional in-person model in the fall.
Online, hybrid and supervised off-site instruction, such as internships, will still be available to students who want those options, but "75% of the classes taught in person in 2019, will be taught in person again in 2021," officials said in a statement.
While interest in online courses increased due to the pandemic, more students are eager to return to the classroom, according to the statement. In a survey of Weber State students, 43% said they prefer a traditional classroom setting compared to 30% who would choose online or hybrid courses.
"We'll be able to have a really vibrant, in-person fall semester that capitalizes on some of the virtual capabilities that we've built up over the last 14 months," Weber State University President Brad Mortensen said in a prepared statement. "We'll offer more hybrid classes, virtual enhancements to face-to-face instruction and improved online classes. Meeting students where they are and helping them academically is our priority."
The school also plans to resume its regular campus activities, including an annual back-to-school block party.
Student body President Ben Ferney said the return to in-person learning and activities is like being "invited back to life" for students.
The university lifted all its COVID-19 protocols, including mask-wearing and physical distancing, on June 15. Those who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to wear masks.
Weber State University held minimal in-person classes last fall, but offered more in-person and hybrid options in the spring due to the availability of vaccinations, officials said.
Other universities that have announced their plans for the fall semester:
- Brigham Young University's semester will essentially mark a return to campus life as experienced before the pandemic, the university announced in late May. The majority of classes will be offered in-person, with classrooms at full capacity. Masks and social distancing won't be required. University officials said they are also looking for ways to implement virtual learning elements during the school's traditional fall semester.
- The University of Utah also plans a full return to in-person instruction. About 15% of classes will be online, which is just slightly higher than before COVID-19, said Chris Nelson, university spokesman. On-campus housing will be at full capacity, he said.
- Utah State University will also expand its in-person classes to at least 75% of those that were offered face-to-face before the pandemic while continuing to offer other course delivery options.
- Utah Valley University plans to hold the majority of classes in-person with live-streaming and online options available. University officials said in a statement they are waiting to decide whether to require masks until closer to the semester.