By Madelin Shelton–
University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi announced in an email on May 3 that the University of Louisville is expected to return to regular campus operations for the fall 2020 semester. This includes students living on campus and attending in-person classes.
Bendapudi said that U of L never did close during the Spring 2020 semester and that it continued to serve the 2,700 students who remained in campus facilities or affiliated housing.
She also said that U of L’s research and healthcare infrastructure and recent experience of moving swiftly from in-person to online classes has well prepared the university to respond to future rises in COVID-19 cases.
Bendapudi said that the principal concern is the health and wellbeing of the Cards community.
In preparation for the fall semester, U of L is employing several strategies, including having the Executive Vice President for Research, Kevin Gardner, work with U of L researchers and Campus Health Services to ensure quick testing of students, faculty, staff and contact tracing.
In addition, Executive Vice President and University Provost Beth Boehm is leading a work group to help U of L students get the best education in the fall and to support faculty and staff.
Bendapudi said that the university will continue to consult with local and state health officials and U of L experts as the situation progresses. She also addressed the still-present uncertainty with a situation like this.
“We know there are many questions that we need to answer between now and the start of the Fall semester. We will be providing a more comprehensive update on our path forward by the first week of June,” she stated in the email.
U of L Executive Director of Communications John Karman said that the university will be prepared to switch back to online only instruction if there is another spike in COVID-19 cases. But he also made it clear that there will be measures taken to try to prevent an outbreak at U of L.
“The university will have significant health and safety protocols in place for students returning to campus this fall. Details of those measures should be revealed in early June,” Karman said.
Bendapudi ended her announcement with words of encouragement.
“What I have seen of our U of L family is that we are uniquely able to rise to a challenge and overcome it. This global health situation is no different. I have full confidence that the U of L students, staff, and faculty I interact with each and every day are ready for anything, and that is true in this situation as well,” she said.
Graphic by Alexis Simon //The Louisville Cardinal