TIFTON—To use a couple of time-honored expressions, Dr. David Bridges does not want to jump the gun, but he does want to be ahead of the curve.
Bridges, the president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College since 2006 and the longest-serving president in the University System of Georgia (USG), says ABAC students can expect a return to normalcy for the 2021 fall semester.
“Our plan is to return to normal operations in the fall,” Bridges said. “I want our existing students to know that, and I particularly want incoming freshmen to know it.”
Like all the other 25 institutions in the USG, ABAC offered only online classes for the final weeks of the 2020 spring semester and the entirety of the summer term because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students during the 2020 fall term took a mix of online classes and in-person classes. Now in the middle of the 2021 spring semester, ABAC students take mostly in-person classes with some online classes.
“I want students taking in-person instruction in a safe environment this fall,” Bridges said. “We will make available a limited number of online classes for those students who still may not feel comfortable sitting in a lecture hall.”
Bridges is even thinking beyond the classroom.
“I want students living in on-campus housing, going to club meetings, playing sports, and eating in the dining hall,” Bridges said. “Give our students what they deserve, the total college experience.
“ABAC has always been known for its friendly atmosphere and quality education that prepares students for life. Even during the pandemic, we have not backed off that premise.”
ABAC enrolled 3,990 students during the 2020 fall term, the second-largest enrollment in the history of the college. Those students came from 155 of Georgia’s 159 counties, 53 of Florida’s 67 counties, 19 states, and 24 countries. A record 2,353 of those students enrolled in the 12 bachelor’s degree programs that ABAC offers.
Classes are scheduled to begin for the ABAC fall semester on Aug. 11.