Students walking outside of Stony Brook University’s Student Activities Center. Roughly 80% of classes in Fall 2021 will be held in person. SARA RUBERG/ STATESMAN FILE

Most classes at Stony Brook University will be held in-person during the Fall 2021 semester.

According to President Maurie McInnis, only about 20% of the classes — including those designed to be taught online and those with extremely large class sizes — will be taught online. Large scale lectures will not be included partially because of a reduction in space due to the renovations to the Jacob K. Javits Lecture Center, which started earlier this year.

McInnis attributed the ability to return to in-person learning in part to the vaccine distribution by New York state and around the country. The university will still follow state and federal guidelines for their reopening, although they do expect fewer density restrictions in the next few months.

“Certainly, as a president who began my tenure just last summer, I have missed the unique energy and creative spirit of a bustling campus,” McInnis wrote in a campus wide email on April 6. “But more important, I know that a return to in-person learning is necessary for Stony Brook to continue to deliver the exceptional education that we are known for as one of the nation’s top public research universities.”

Residence halls will also return to near full capacity, and athletic and student activities will operate fully.

McInnis said that most of the university’s researchers have already returned in-person to their labs, and faculty and staff members are currently in the last phase of returning to in-person work.

McInnis also mentioned that some faculty, staff and students have found improvements in virtual interactions, and supports the integration of these improvements as the university transfers back to in-person. This includes holding advisor meetings and office hours online. 

“I believe these lessons are an invitation to redesign our campus culture for the better, and I hope you, too, will consider how we might continue virtual activities that will amend or fortify, but not replace, in-person experiences,” she wrote.


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