Students return to campus for the first day of the fall semester on Monday, August 24, 2020 at the University of Cincinnati's main campus. 

Officials at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have released more details surrounding the increase of in-person activity on campus during the fall semester. 

Just under 70% of class orders that have been submitted to the provost’s office as of March 11 are face-to-face, UC Provost Kristi Nelson told Faculty Senate earlier this month, adding that her office was still expecting an additional 1,000 class orders.  

Nelson said that roughly 24% of class orders have been submitted for distance learning. 

“The hybrid and HyFlex is not very popular right now. So very few of those courses have been submitted,” she said. 

The provost’s statements to faculty provide a clearer picture of what fall semester will look like with more relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.  

UC President Neville Pinto previously announced plans for increased on-campus and in-person activity in the fall but didn’t provide much in the way of specifics. Though he did say the university will continue to use a “step-wise” approach in its planning for the fall semester and encouraged students to continue following public health guidance. 

“We anticipate expanded opportunities for in-person learning, teaching, staffing and campus life while keeping the safety and health of our students, faculty, staff and visitors paramount,” he said in a March 4 email to students. 

Pinto attributed the university’s decision, in part, to the successful nationwide vaccine rollout.

Since vaccine distribution first began in December, more than 126 million doses have been administered in the U.S., with more than 44 million people being fully vaccinated, according to data from NPR

In Ohio, the vaccine has been administered to nearly 25% of the state’s population and roughly 14% have been fully vaccinated, the data shows. 

In an emailed statement to The News Record, UC Spokesperson M.B. Reilly didn’t give a precise figure of the number of classes that will be held in-person. 

“Given that updates on the state level continue and the wider context continues to come into focus, what I can say at this time is that our goal is to have most of our classes on campus and to ensure that undergraduates have significant on-campus engagement and coursework,” she said. 

New daily cases among students at UC have dropped significantly since their peak in peak in November, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard. The university has recorded a total of 3,316 positive cases of COVID-19 among students since the campus reopened in August.

There has been a similar trend statewide, with new daily cases down significantly from their peak in the winter months, but still higher than daily cases recorded at the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard.

Gov. Mike DeWine has said that all public health orders will be removed once new cases drop down to 50 per 100,000 residents over two weeks. 

There has been a strong sentiment among students, faculty and administration to get back into the classroom. 

“Like our students, we are eager to get back to more in-person activity. We yearn to see our campus bustling again,” Pinto said.