Fall 2021 Opening Update for Students and Families

June 8, 2021

Dear Students and Families,

As we move through the final week of our 2020–2021 academic year and prepare to celebrate our graduates this Sunday, Seattle University is immersed in planning for our Fall 2021 academic term.

We announced in March that the university would be primarily in-person this fall. With vaccinations increasing and COVID-19 counts significantly declining, our planning continues to evolve as we prepare to open as fully in-person as possible.

We are encouraged by and grateful for the possibilities that continue to emerge for us and look forward to being together as a university community. For instance, as shared with current students and families last week, we are pleased that 88 percent of our undergraduate courses will be taught in person this fall. Nearly all classes that are not in-person are for courses where it is pedagogically necessary to be in a virtual format or courses with multiple sections where students can choose in-person or virtual. Most graduate courses will also return to in-person, although we are building in additional virtual options to meet the needs and preferences of graduate students. We also expect that more than 90 percent of our first- and second-year students will live on campus for 2021–2022.

Vaccinations Are Key

Our shared desire to be fully in-person for fall is largely dependent upon the vast majority of SU’s campus community being vaccinated. As previously shared, students are required to be fully vaccinated before coming to campus (with religious and medical exemptions available). We have been considering requiring faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated and will have more to announce shortly. (More than 50 percent of our faculty and staff have already registered that they are fully vaccinated.) We encourage everyone to register once fully vaccinated so that we can better plan for our fall opening. 

In addition, all of our planning will continue to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of our campus community. We will have in place necessary health and safety measures and protocols for fall, consistent with the latest public health guidance. As the state of Washington is currently preparing to reopen in full by June 30, we expect to have updated guidelines for higher education by then as well.

An Exciting Year Ahead

Our 2021–2022 academic year promises to be momentous and exciting. In September, we will inaugurate our new president, Eduardo Peñalver, dedicate and officially open the Jim and Janet Sinegal Center for Science and Innovation and, most exciting of all, welcome our students to campus for a rich and vibrant Seattle U experience.

We will continue to update you on our fall opening plans in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, we are grateful to you for being a part of the SU family and joining us as we embark on a new year and new era for the university.


Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.