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Troy University preparing for return to normal in fall

Troy University announced it would return to normal operations beginning with fall commencement.

However, Dr. Lance Tatum, Troy’s senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and chair of the Coronavirus Taskforce, saidbthe campus will continue to operate using “Troy Strong” procedures until the end of the spring semester.

Tatum said the decline in COVID cases nationally coupled with the continued delivery of vaccines, indicated campus life could return to normal in the near future. But, he said the university would continue to maintain its “Troy Strong” safety protocols.

“First, even though there are positive trends in the fight against COVID-19, we are committed to the safety measures put in place last fall,” Tatum wrote in a letter to the university staff. The ‘Troy Strong’ procedures will remain in place at least until the end of the spring semester. To date, our safety plan has served us well, and I believe it is vital we remain committed to these procedures while more of the community and campus population is vaccinated.”

Tatum said the university’s Coronavirus Taskforce was carefully considering what safety procedures will be in effect this summer and will make an announcement about that in the coming days.

Tatum said the university is planning a return to normal in the fall based on current coronavirus data.

“Our Coronavirus Taskforce has reviewed local and state data, including trend data for case counts, hospitalizations, and the number of vaccinations given in our service area,” Tatum said. “In Alabama, the seven-day average for new cases was 3,332 on Jan. 1 but had fallen to 575 by March 9. Hospitalizations have also fallen from a seven-day average of 2,586 to 659 over the same period, and more than 15 percent of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. All of this information suggests we are trending in a direction suit-able for a return to regular operations in the fall.”

Tatum said all data was obtained from the New York Times coronavirus database.

While the university is planning a return to normal, he said all future plans will depend on the course of the pandemic.

“We are preparing for a return to regular operations this fall, including in-class instruction, campus events and full usage of campus facilities. In fact, our expected theme for the fall will be to have ‘Fun in ’21,’”  he said “We know this goal is ambitious and dependent on many factors outside of our control. As always, our plans will follow the best guidance from state and federal officials, including the Alabama Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control. The current trends in case numbers give us hope, and our experiences last year tell us that now is the time to start planning for a return to normal operating models at all of our campuses in August.”

Due to the nature of the pandemic, Tatum said the university’s plans are subject to change as the situation evolves, but there are things students and faculty can do to help the situation.

“For now, I ask that we all continue to focus on following safety protocols each day,” Ta-tum said. “Your commitment to being ‘Troy Strong’ has helped keep our campuses and communities safe. Now, by working together, we can “Finish Strong,” and hopefully enjoy a traditional college experience on our campuses later this year.”