By Kristina Rex

BOSTON (CBS) – Northeastern University students will be welcomed back on campus come September, according to a letter from the school president sent to the community on May 8.

“It is our intention to reopen our campuses this fall,” President Joseph E. Aoun wrote, in part. “It will require new and innovative thinking about classroom usage, residential occupancy, dining, athletics, [etc].”

However, the state guidelines for the four phases of reopening have not yet been outlined clearly, and it is unclear if large gatherings like lecture style classes will be allowed in the state of Massachusetts come September.

In a virtual Senate Health Committee meeting Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci testified that it would be unrealistic for universities to rely on effective treatment or a vaccine to be ready by the fall semester, saying it would be “a bit of a bridge too far.” On Tuesday evening, California State University announced their campuses would remain closed for the fall semester.

“I wasn’t expecting [the announcement],” said Northeastern third year student Ava Patterson. “I mean, it’s definitely the irresponsible thing to do.” She told WBZ she wouldn’t “necessarily” feel safe in a traditional classroom.

“Hopefully by the fall it’s gonna be back to normal and everything’s gonna be alright,” added third year student Nikhil Ramakrischman. “If not, hopefully the school takes proactive decisions when the time comes.”

In the letter to the school community, President Aoun wrote, “while we continue to believe that classroom instruction should be the norm, we will offer many large lectures in both live and recorded formats, while some of our other classes will allow for both live and remote participation. We will need to expand student housing into new buildings and communities to reduce residential density. This may include setting aside residential space to accommodate those who will need to safely self-isolate.”

WBZ requested an interview to clarify plans with President Aoun, but a spokesperson said he wasn’t available. The full letter can be read here.

Kristina Rex

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