Modified Calendar for Fall 2020 Semester

To Our Faculty, Staff and Students:

We write today to share that the university’s Board of Trustees has approved a modified academic calendar for the Fall 2020 semester.  

Developed through extensive deliberations among the schools’ academic deans, it applies to all undergraduates—as well as graduate students whose programs largely align with those of undergraduates.

The revised calendar maintains the originally planned Aug. 24 start of classes, but makes the last day of in-person instruction Nov. 20—the Friday before Thanksgiving. Its overarching goal is to provide a model that reduces the community’s COVID-19 infection risk while minimizing disruptions to academic and other schedules.

Given those parameters, the fall calendar includes classes on Labor Day and October’s traditional two-day break, with no classes on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 23-25). The semester’s last week of classes (Nov. 30-Dec. 4) will be conducted remotely, as will reading days and final examinations.

The revised calendar aims to lower student travel to and from campus, and also lower the number of people on campus before the height of flu season begins. Experts have expressed concern about the impact that the combination of new flu cases and a continuing COVID-19 pandemic could have, in particular in settings where people live in close proximity.

University leaders in such areas as health services, housing and student affairs are continuing to work through scheduling options for undergraduates to move into residence halls, as well as first-year orientation sessions and related programs for returning undergraduates. We realize that preparations for travel to campus require those details, and will share them the moment that they are final.

We want to thank the academic deans for their diligent and thoughtful work in amending the fall calendar, and note that they now are focusing on revisions to the spring calendar. We also are grateful to our Faculty Senate’s executive committee for moving with great alacrity to review and approve the fall calendar proposal in time for the board to act at its June meeting.

In terms of the fall schedule for professional degree programs, the respective schools retain oversight. They will continue to update their communities as those calendars are completed. (In the meantime, post-baccalaureate students with questions about their program calendars should contact their respective schools.)

For purposes of clarity, below is the approved Fall 2020 calendar for undergraduates and graduate students in related programs, with changes to the usual academic calendar italicized:

  • Monday, Aug. 24: Classes Begin
  • Monday, Sept. 7 (Labor Day): Classes Held
  • Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 19-20 (Usually Fall Break): Classes Held
  • Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 23-24: No Classes (in lieu of Fall Break)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 25: No Classes (in lieu of Labor Day)
  • Thursday-Friday, Nov. 26-27: University Holidays (Thanksgiving)
  • Monday-Friday, Nov. 30-Dec. 4: Final Week of Classes Held Remotely
  • Monday, Dec. 7, Friday, Dec. 11: Reading Days
  • Tuesday, Dec. 8-Wednesday, Dec. 16: Final Exams (Excepting Dec. 11) Held Remotely

Barbara R. Snyder

Ben Vinson III
Provost and Executive Vice President