September 3, 2020
*This communication was sent to faculty and staff from the Office of the Provost on September 3, 2020*
Dear Faculty and Staff,
Thank you for your continued hard work as we kick off the fall academic semester. Because of your many efforts, students are about to embark on an engaging and meaningful virtual experience during this historic and unprecedented time.
As you may know, the Simmons University COVID-19 Recovery Task Force continues to meet and is looking ahead at planning and contingencies for the spring semester. Though it’s too early to know what the spring semester will look like, we do have some important academic calendar changes to share today.
After careful consideration and input from our community, we’ve decided that the 2021 spring academic semester for undergraduates and for on-campus graduate programs will begin two weeks later on Monday, February 1, 2021. The later start will provide faculty and staff with additional time to prepare courses and programs for the spring semester, which will be helpful whether we are in-person or virtual. This delayed start will also help mitigate some of the impacts of the flu season.
In addition, we are eliminating spring break and replacing it with an extended four-day holiday weekend during the middle of the semester, which will begin on Saturday March 13, and run through Tuesday, March 16, 2021. Friday, February 19 and Monday, April 19 will also be Simmons holidays and no classes will be held. Previously announced holidays will remain as scheduled.
Key 2021 spring academic semester dates include:
Ø Spring semester begins: Monday, February 1, 2021
Ø Simmons holidays and no classes on Friday, February 19, Monday, March 15, Tuesday, March 16 and Monday, April 19.
Ø Reading and review day: Wednesday, May 19
Ø Final exams: Thursday, May 20 through Saturday, May 22
Ø 2021 Commencement: Friday, May 28
Review the full spring calendar HERE.
We know that there continues to be much anxiety and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re announcing these changes today so that faculty and staff have adequate time to prepare and coordinate planning and schedules.
As a reminder, our decision about when and how to bring students back to campus in the spring will be based on the same methodology and guiding principles we utilized for the fall semester. Our top priority remains the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and all those who interact with our community, while ensuring that the Simmons experience we offer is equitable and accessible to all. Our intention is to invite students back to campus as soon as we can safely do so given the trajectory of the pandemic and public health data and guidance.
We know how much planning and hard work has been done to ensure that students can access the “Simmons experience” this fall. Thank you for your efforts and we will keep you updated with additional news as we have it.