LAU’s Safe Return to In-Person Learning - Plan for Fall 2021
Dear Members of our LAU Community,
We are making great strides toward opening our campuses to students, faculty and staff for in-person learning starting Fall 2021 on Monday, August 30, 2021.
LAU’s vaccination campaign has been progressing swiftly and steadily: more than 85 percent of our students, faculty and staff have been either fully or partially vaccinated. We can now contemplate a campus thriving with classroom instruction, vibrant labs, memorable co-curricular activities, and humming libraries.
Above all, we will be ready by the end of August to provide for an extremely safe campus where we can all be reassured that we are protected and are fully respectful of each other’s wellbeing, with those present on campus having been either vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 through PCR tests.
We will also implement the necessary measures to raise the safety level and reduce any risks. Of course, this plan assumes no national lockdown will be mandated, or in which case, that sensible exceptions will be made for institutions with an overwhelmingly vaccinated population.
Following 18 months of turmoil, this achievement would not have been possible without our community’s determination and persistence. Importantly, it is thanks to the tremendous display of collective wisdom with everyone participating in the vaccination plan, for the greater good of all, that we would be resuming campus life.
At the same time, and to optimize everyone’s safety, we urge all those who have not yet registered to receive their vaccines to do so promptly and without any delay.
Having said that, our determination and persistence are now being tested with the far-reaching implications of yet another challenge, namely the fuel shortage situation. LAU has again demonstrated foresight and diligence by implementing several measures in August to build up our reserves and maximize our sustainability. We plan to switch to a four-day on-campus instruction this Fall, with Fridays dedicated to online learning. The pandemic may have wrought havoc on in-person instruction, but it has also brought about new modalities and technologies, and we must build on this new terrain that we have conquered and leverage all the possibilities it has opened. This measure also allows us to increase our level of flexibility and adaptability to face more scenarios.
While the economic, monetary, and social crises remain formidable threats to our students and our talent pool, we will continue with our relief measures in solidarity with our community.
As we have demonstrated with our COVID-19 campaign, financial hardship assistance, and ongoing fuel shortage strategy, we have every intent to overcome these challenges and have several contingency plans in place for foreseeable and potential scenarios.
Please expect detailed plans from various critical entities, including our academic division through our Provost’s Office, our student-centric division through SDEM, our campus-wide vaccination committee and for our staff through our Human Resources Department. The situation will continue to be fluid; however, we will respond to every challenge, and our response will continue to be pre-emptive, timely, vigorous, and impactful.
“Through hardship to the stars,” as the old saying goes, and we will surmount all hardships, one by one.
Michel E. Mawad, M.D.