Seton Hall University announced on Friday that it would proceed with in-person instruction on its South Orange campus this fall beginning on August 31. The announcement follows an executive order issued by N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday which allows for colleges and universities in the state to proceed with their restart plans filed with the state despite not entering Stage Three of its economic reopening.
The move is a quick turnaround for the University, which just last week announced that it would begin instruction for the fall semester remotely until New Jersey entered Stage Three of its reopening or until it received other guidance from the state allowing it to move forward with its HyFlex delivery model.
The University says it will still begin the semester online as planned on Aug. 21 but will pivot to remote learning a week later to give faculty, students and staff time to make “final adjustments to their schedules, given the timing of the executive order.”
“Our community is about to transition into a dynamic new phase as we begin the academic year,” University President Dr. Joseph Nyre said in a press release posted to the University’s website. “I am grateful for the efforts of everyone at the University who has been diligently preparing for our return to campus.”
Despite the order from Murphy allowing colleges in the state to reopen, some, such as Princeton University and The College of New Jersey, have already announced that they will continue with their plans to continue remote delivery for the entire fall semester.
“The recent changes in higher education regulations in New Jersey are a positive sign, but based on our conversations with the state, and the restrictions still in place in New Jersey, we do not plan to change our posture for the upcoming semester,” Deputy Spokesperson for Princeton University Michael Hotchkiss told The Daily Princetonianin a statement explaining the School’s decision.
As per Murphy’s executive order, Seton Hall also said that it would allow indoor dinning for students and faculty upon reopening as well, making it one of the first facilities in the state to do so as New Jersey continues to mandate either grab and go or outdoor dining for other restaurants and bars – though the University has also set up tents for outdoor dining as well.
Seton Hall Law School, whose campus is located just a few miles away from the University’s South Orange campus in Newark, will also proceed with in-person instruction – with the first weekend classes beginning on Aug. 22 and classes for first year law students resuming on August 21.
The Law School’s fulltime upperclassmen will then resume with in-person classes on August 31, alongside Seton Hall’s South Orange and Interprofessional Health Sciences campuses.
The shift back to a predominantly hybrid semester comes just two days before the University plans to welcome back its first round of resident students on Sunday which will then kick off a weeklong, socially distanced move-in period for residents.