Modification to the Academic Calendar for the Fall 2020 Semester
Updated July 20, 2020
Dear Members of the Faculty and Staff,
In the July 2 detailed Plan for University Re-opening, the section “Academic Calendar” indicated that the undergraduate, graduate, and professional academic calendars would proceed as planned. We acknowledged that “should data be made available that shows that adjustments would benefit the health and safety of our community, we would be ready and able to make needed changes to the academic calendars.” Clearly our extensive health and safety protocols are the greatest way in which we can reduce transmission of the virus. The rising trend line of new COVID-19 cases across the country has given us pause to consider a modification to the original plan to follow the published academic schedule.
Now, given the instability of the pandemic and the University’s desire to minimize the exposure to its campus constituencies, please note the following modifications to the fall 2020 calendar:
- The last day of undergraduate classes will be December 4 instead of December 11, shortening the instructional class period in the fall semester by one week.
- In lieu of removing one week of classes from the academic calendar, however, classes will be scheduled to be held on September 7 (Labor Day) and October 12-13 (Fall Break), which initially had been classified as no-class days.
- The final week of classes – November 30 to December 4 – and the week of final exams/assessments – December 14-18, will be administered wholly online.
- The week of December 7-11 will be a “reading period” for students to prepare for final exams and other assessments, to be administered online during the week of December 14-18.
- As before, final grades will be due to be reported in Self-Service by 12 noon on December 21.
- Notwithstanding the conversion to online modalities for the final week of classes and exams/assessments, the residence halls and dining services will remain open for residential students who wish to remain on campus through the end of final exams/assessments. That is, residence halls and dining services will not close during the semester and will remain open through December 18. Residential students who wish to remain on campus through December 18 may do so. Commuter students and residential students who live nearby and who wish to use our computer facilities for the last week of classes and for the exam period may return to campus to utilize these facilities. D’Amour Library and the Law Library will be open to students.
The School of Law, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and graduate programs will clarify certain aspects of the calendar as it applies to them.
The decision to modify the fall calendar was precipitated by the concern that mass migrations off-and-on campus attributable to the three originally scheduled breaks – Labor Day, Fall Break, and the Thanksgiving holiday – would likely contribute to higher COVID-19 exposure and infections among members of our campus community. This judgment was underscored by the state of the pandemic manifested by the steady and relentless increase in COVID-19 cases since mid-June.
In sum, undergraduate classes will begin August 31 and end December 4, 2020, with classes being held on Labor Day (September 7) and Fall Break (October 12-13). After the Thanksgiving holiday, the final week of classes (November 30 to December 4) will be wholly online, followed by a reading period (December 7-11), which will be followed by final exams/assessments to be administered wholly online the week of December 14-18.
As stated in the July 2 Plan, our University has demonstrated a strong ability to adapt since the outbreak of COVID-19 and will need to remain flexible as we begin the fall semester: “One of the most challenging components of this pandemic has been our greatly diminished ability to plan for the future in every aspect of our lives. We can and will be prepared for multiple scenarios, but things can change quickly. Plans will likely be altered, and we will be ready to adapt as a community. There is no perfect plan at any college or university.”
Anthony S. Caprio
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs