news-category: Admissions

Gardner-Webb Officials Plan Return to Regular Programming for Fall 2021 Semester

Dawg Days

Seated Classes and Activities Expected to Return to Pre-Pandemic Levels

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Officials at Gardner-Webb University are preparing for a return to pre-pandemic operations and schedules for the Fall 2021 Semester. With vaccines being distributed and the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations declining, GWU students, faculty and staff are looking forward to returning to a full schedule of face-to-face instruction, and capacity-filled auditoriums, arenas and stadiums.

“While remaining actively vigilant and faithfully following the guidelines set by public health authorities, we at Gardner-Webb are eager to turn the COVID corner and get back to normal campus operations and activities,” shared GWU President Dr. William M. Downs. “We’ll be smart, we’ll be safe, but make no mistake about it…we’ll be in full swing once the fall semester gets underway. I can’t wait!”

Kristen Setzer, vice president for Enrollment Management is also excited about all the possibilities that the Fall 2021 Semester brings. “We are eager to welcome our new students and their families as they join our returning students and find their place on campus,” she said.

students at a football game

The safety of students and employees remains a priority. Lesley Villarose, dean of students and vice president for Student Development, said her team is busy making plans for fall. “We are focused entirely on how to restart all campus-based activities safely to include new student orientation, social activities and athletic events,” Villarose affirmed. “The health and safety of our students will always be our first priority in our planning and this will always be the focus of what we do.”

Gardner-Webb’s COVID Transition Taskforce, led by Downs, will meet regularly as it has throughout the pandemic. Two Taskforce members who have concentrated their efforts on the health and safety of everyone on campus are David Wacaster, director of operations for GWU’s Facilities and Maintenance, and Barry Lane, the University’s Director of Environmental and Occupational Safety. Throughout the last year, Lane has been in constant communication with the Cleveland County (N.C.) Health Department. He will continue consulting with them and following the current guidelines provided by the NCDHHS (N.C. Department of Health and Human Services).

In addition, Wacaster said navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has created beneficial procedures that are here to stay. “The disinfecting processes and equipment have drastically reduced the number of other virus we typically deal with,” Wacaster observed. “The idea of virtual meetings and remote work will have advantages in a normal campus life. Throughout the past 12 months, there have been many medical and therapeutic developments that have helped shape our perspective of the virus.”

student fountain

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at

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