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IU eliminates fall and spring breaks in response to COVID-19 concerns

Plans outlined by school's president
Posted at 4:12 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 16:40:32-04

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana University President Michael McRobbie Wednesday outlined specific plans for the 2020-21 academic year, as the school deals with issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are significant changes from a traditional school year.

Key takeaways from McRobbie's announcement: The revised academic calendar eliminates both the fall and spring breaks, adds a winter session and additional course options.

Academic calendar: The 2020-21 academic year will run from Aug. 24 to May 9 as originally planned but will now be in three parts:

  • The fall semester, will run from Aug. 24 through Dec. 20. Classes may be in-person or online until Thanksgiving week when all in-person instruction will end. The rest of the semester will be online only. There will be no fall break.
  • Campuses will be able to use the online-only period (Nov. 30 to Feb. 8 – a new winter session) in various ways: to finish fall semester courses, to begin spring semester courses, or to create new intensive courses that use either or both the December and January online periods.
  • The spring semester will begin with online only instruction on Jan. 19 and then resume in-person instruction on Feb. 8. The semester will run to May 9 without a spring break.
  • Undergraduate students who take advantage of IU’s banded tuition rates can include courses from the fall semester, winter session or spring semester as part of the new calendar without any additional cost.
  • Many individual courses previously given entirely in-person will now become blended courses, with some of the instruction given online, for example, as an alternative to large classes that may not be feasible with social distancing requirements.

Residential housing: All rooms in all of IU’s residence halls will be single occupancy, but there will be a way for students who wish to have a roommate to do so.

IU health and safety procedures: IU will have policies in place on all campuses covering cleaning, social distancing, personal responsibilities, and research labs in shared spaces—all designed to provide a safe working and educational environment.

There will be required mask use, quarantining where necessary, reduced class sizes, modified food service and regular personal symptom checking.

Campus programs and planning: Each IU campus will change its academic courses and program offerings for students through a blend of in-person and online instruction.

Considerations for people with higher risks: Because some members of the IU community may be at greater risk, the school is putting in place procedures for adjusting duties and expectations where needed and feasible.

President McRobbie said campus life will be different than previous years. "Every member of our community will need to adapt their personal behaviors to help ensure the health of others, respect the necessity of some inconveniences, forgo some favored activities, and demonstrate flexibility and resilience should conditions change," he said.

"We know that many of our students greatly value the residential experiences that a number of our campuses provide, and that is why we are looking to safely resume on-campus instruction, provide as much of an in-person educational program as is practicable, and adapt where needed to ensure academic progress for our students," said McRobbie.