Message from President Finger - Fall 2021 Planning 

March 22, 2021

Dear Members of the Seton Hill Community,

I am writing today to acknowledge an important milestone—we are now beginning the second half of the Spring 2021 semester.  I want to thank you for continuing to adhere to the health and safety protocols that have allowed us to continue in-person learning and residential living on the Seton Hill University campus since August 2020. And it has been wonderful to have our students back on the playing fields for spring athletics with a full schedule of games hosted on-campus last weekend.  

Much has happened in the last several weeks that provides us with great hope as we plan for the future. Overall community vaccination rates are increasing.  Here at Seton Hill 300 students, faculty and staff, eligible under Phase 1A of the Commonwealth’s vaccination guidelines, received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month at an on-campus clinic. And, we know many more of you have received your first, and in some cases, second dose of the vaccine through other external clinics and programs. 

Moreover, the COVID-19 transmission rates in Westmoreland and surrounding counties have been stabilizing, and the rates on campus remain low.  This is good news. 

While we are still working out many details, I am pleased to share with you that we are planning an in-person Commencement for May 22 that will celebrate both the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020. 

We are also beginning to plan for the Fall 2021 semester with the expectation that we will be managing with conditions favoring a more normal and pre-COVID-19 environment. 

As you know, Seton Hill has been operating since August with face-to-face classes along with hybrid and some fully-online options. About 90 percent of classes have been conducted in a face-to-face manner during the 2020-2021 academic year.  We expect that to continue as we plan for Fall 2021. We anticipate a return to the traditional semester format as it relates to classes, student activities and athletic events, which will adhere to NCAA and PSAC guidelines.  

Certainly, Seton Hill will continue to follow the health and safety protocols outlined by the CDC and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. However, we believe that with the downward trend of cases of the virus and the increase in vaccination rates, that Seton Hill will be able to provide a safe living and learning environment that resembles normal conditions.

It is important to remember that continuing to take precautions against the virus is critical to sustaining our momentum and ensuring a full return to a pre-COVID-19 campus in Fall 2021. As restrictions continue to be lifted by the Commonwealth, we all must be deliberate in working together to keep our campus community healthy and safe. As always, you can find our current planning information and updated Return to Campus Plan on Seton Hill’s coronavirus website.

Thank you for all you continue to do to make the Seton Hill University community an amazing one.

Hazard yet forward,

President Finger