After a 2020 season that never saw Clemson's Death Valley at full capacity, Clemson plans for the opposite for the 2021 season.

Clemson University President Jim Clements sent this email today:

As we approach spring break, signs of increased activity abound across the University. More students are coming to campus for instruction, we’re seeing a significant increase in the use of recreational facilities — and it’s been wonderful to watch our outstanding spring athletic teams start their schedules after last year’s seasons were cut short.

All of this, and more, are signs that our aggressive approach to COVID-19 testing and safety protocols has paid off. While we’re not out of the woods yet, the prevalence of the virus remains well below 1 percent among the University community and with vaccine supplies ramping up, we are preparing for an in-person Fall semester.

Our focus on the fall already has begun, in fact. We have received more than 45,000 applications for next academic year — up nearly 65 percent from this year — and acceptance letters started going out about two weeks ago. We are confident we will meet our enrollment target, which would mean a modest growth in our student population next year.

Registration for Fall classes begins April 12 and students will notice that almost all courses are being offered in the traditional, in-person mode. Likewise, we’re also planning for a normal level of campus activity starting in the fall, including full capacity for Tigers football games.

Our expectation in taking this approach is that COVID-19 vaccines will be widely available and accepted over the coming months and that transmission rates of the virus will remain extremely low. Having said that, the past year has proven that we are capable of delivering a robust Clemson education under challenging circumstances and we will continue to put the health of our staff, faculty, students and community members first as we plan for the fall.

Toward that end, we will continue to monitor the conditions around COVID-19 very carefully throughout the spring and summer, and we will not hesitate to alter course should the conditions dictate that we do so. We also will work closely with our faculty and staff, who have done tremendous work during the pandemic, to better understand the needs of those who may require accommodations to their working environment and to explore ways to support those needs.

Death Valley only held 19,000 fans at each of its home games in 2020, a massive dropoff from the stadium's max capacity of 81,500.

Clemson saw 114,000 fans in total at its home outings a season ago, and the chance to fill Memorial Stadium back up should have Tiger fans even more excited for what's to come in 2021.

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