September 24, 2020
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus earlier this year, colleges and universities across the nation have encountered major challenges related to COVID-19. Like many other institutions, our University adjusted our academic calendar this Fall semester, and we have also decided to adjust the Spring 2021 academic calendar.
Last Friday, the Board of Trustees approved our recommendation to revise the Spring 2021 academic calendar. Specifically, the start date of classes will change from Monday, January 11, 2021, to Tuesday, January 19, 2021, and we will eliminate our Spring Break.
Delaying the start of Spring semester will allow us to reduce the number of weeks we are in classes during the peak of the flu season, while also allowing us to proceed with the start of classes in the best health possible.
The plan to eliminate Spring Break will also help mitigate ongoing risks posed by the coronavirus by reducing potential risks associated with campus community members who may have otherwise traveled during the middle of the Spring semester.
Though we realize that not having a Spring break is less than ideal, this decision was made in order to continue to provide a safe living and learning environment and protect our community. Research by Paul Niekamp, an economics professor in our Miller College of Business, found that thousands of college students who visited popular spring break destinations earlier this year may have become infected with COVID-19, which they subsequently brought back to their campuses and local communities.
In the next few weeks, I will provide some additional information about the Spring 2021 semester. My colleagues and I are considering some other potential adjustments to both on-campus and online course delivery.
As we continue to progress through our current Fall semester, please keep in mind that all of us must continue to work together to keep our campus and local community as safe as possible by taking measures to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. That means we must continue to be diligent in practicing our protocols — including testing, contact tracing, wearing masks, physically distancing, avoiding large crowds, and handwashing. Thank you for your cooperation.