Western Carolina University is moving forward with plans to resume as close to normal operations this fall, given the current COVID-19 trends and projections, and as WCU’s clinic is helping to vaccinate the Western North Carolina region.
The resumption of ‘normal operations’ will include an increase of in-person classes, fall sports, campus events and activities, community engagement, and a return to full occupancy residential living. All buildings and facilities, including dining operations, the library and the recreation center will return to normal hours and increased capacity.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have remained open while providing a safe and healthy living, learning and working environment for our students, faculty and staff,” said Kelli R. Brown, WCU chancellor. “With the steadily decreasing number of cases nationwide and in North Carolina, and our ability to assist in vaccinating our region, we look forward to once again providing a fully in-person and residential learning experience for our students.”
After a series of virtual commencement ceremonies in 2020 due to COVID-19, WCU will resume modified, in-person commencement activities this spring for the class of 2021. The ceremonies will take place the weekend of May 14-16 and in accordance with the governor’s executive orders.
“Students who attend Western Carolina University this fall can expect to have a traditional college experience as we work to expand their in-person course offerings,” said Richard Starnes, WCU provost. “More than a beautiful setting surrounded by the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, we continue to offer a supportive community that recognizes students’ full potential and provide nationally ranked programs to achieve their goals.”
Consistently ranked in the upper echelon of higher education institutions by U.S. News & World Report, WCU is among the top 10 for public universities in the South and best value universities in the South. The ranking for best value is a reflection of NC Promise, which reduces the cost of tuition to $500 per semester for North Carolina residents and $2,500 per semester for out-of-state students.
WCU will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases and adhere to the Catamounts Care Community Standards and guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the governor’s executive orders for a successful return to ‘normal operations’.