Ball State University wants to return to education as usual next fall. As IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, officials have adopted a plan that can change if COVID-19 infections spike again.
The word “traditional” is the plan’s key. August will see on-campus classes, on-campus housing, employees back on campus, and a calendar that includes fall, Thanksgiving, and spring breaks.
Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns says students and staff are not being required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. He says that’s because the vaccines have been approved by the FDA for emergency use. If they achieve a regular use authorization, that could change.
“One possibility if that were to happen is that we might require students to be vaccinated if they are engaged in courses or activities that pose a greater risk of transmission: living in a residence hall or a fraternity house, involved in intercollegiate athletics, or other similar activities.”
COVID testing, tracing, quarantining, and sanitizing will continue.
Face masks will continue to be required for summer classes. As for the fall, Mearns says officials will decide on a mask policy by August 1.
Also to be decided later this summer is whether students will need to be tested for COVID-19 before arriving on campus this fall. Ball State had such a requirement for the previous semester, but officials say it will depend on how many people are vaccinated this summer.
Ball State received more than $80 million in federal COVID relief funds over the past year. $16 million of student aid has been distributed already, with another $21.4 million to be used in the fall and spring semesters.