Drury University says it’s started a new school year with two-thirds of its faculty, staff and students vaccinated against COVID-19.
Here’s the full press release from the university:
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 25, 2021 — Drury University began the 2021-22 academic year with approximately two thirds of its campus community vaccinated against COVID-19.Classes for Drury’s 148th academic year began on Tuesday, Aug. 24. Though vaccination is not required for attendance nor employment, Drury students and employees are asked to self-report their status, if vaccinated. Proof of vaccination allows eligibility for incentives and exemption from randomized asymptomatic testing for both students and employees.
As of this week, 84 percent of faculty, 65 percent of staff and 68 percent of students have provided proof of vaccination. The overall rate is approximately 68 percent. The latest data on vaccination rates at Drury can be found on the Panther Plan dashboard online.
“We’re very pleased that two thirds of our students have so far chosen to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated,” says Dr. Tijuana Julian, dean of students. “We expect the number to rise in coming weeks as students take advantage of the many opportunities to get vaccinated at clinics in Springfield, and as they talk to their peers who are vaccinated.”
Drury held an on-campus vaccine clinic Monday afternoon where 24 students received a shot. As part of a broader incentive program, the university will extend fall break in late October from four days to five if at least 70 percent of day school students are vaccinated by that time.
“I’m happy to see our campus respond so positively to the vaccine, which is the primary tool at our disposal to end this terrible pandemic,” says President Dr. Tim Cloyd. “At the same time, I am not surprised by the numbers. Drury students demonstrated their leadership and care for one another last year as we held classes in-person without major disruption from the virus. This track record, combined with the vaccination rates, gives us great confidence in our ability to once again focus on teaching, learning and mentorship this year.”
Preliminary Fall Enrollment
There were 1,352 students in Drury’s residential day school when classes began Tuesday, compared to 1,417 at this time last year, a decrease of 4.5 percent. The primary contributing factor to the decrease was a large graduating class in May, says Kevin Kropf, executive vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications. Drury’s incoming class has 413 students, which is an increase of 5 percent over last year’s incoming class. The number of transfer students increased and retention held steady.
“Enrollment is exactly where our forecasts predicted it would land,” says Kropf. “We’re extremely pleased with our incoming class, which includes an increase in students from the Springfield area. We believe the way our campus handled the pandemic last year may have led more local students to choose Drury’s close-knit social and learning environment for their college career.”
College enrollment has declined in the Midwest and across the nation in recent years. In Missouri, college enrollment dropped 16 percent statewide between 2015 and 2020, according to the Missouri Department of Higher Education, from 378,636 to 318,486. Drury has responded to the long-term trends through the launch of the Your Drury Fusion academic platform, focusing on holistic advising through the Robert and Mary Cox Compass Center and adding new co-curricular programs. The university will open the C.H. “Chub” O’Reilly Enterprise Center and Breech School of Business Administration in fall 2022.
All data is preliminary and based on opening week head counts. Final enrollment totals will be available following Drury’s official census day in early September.