Last week, Ohio Wesleyan University announced a new fall calendar that brings students back to campus Aug. 20 for a shortened semester designed to support personal health and safety.
“The fall schedule has been designed to limit travel, maximize classroom learning, and keep everyone safe,” President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said in announcing the change. “We believe this academic calendar provides us the framework to establish a safer campus and limit exposure to the coronavirus while providing the most powerful learning experience possible for our students.”
The new calendar was designed by the university’s Safe Campus Opening Task Force in collaboration with faculty committees and public health officials. Based on the new calendar:
Ohio Wesleyan’s fall semester will begin Aug. 20, five days earlier than originally scheduled.
A three-day fall break will be eliminated, with the break days distributed throughout the semester, one about every four weeks to enable students to rest, recharge, and get caught up on assignments.
Classes will be held on the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.
After going home for Thanksgiving, students will not return to campus. Instead, all classes and exams after Thanksgiving will be delivered remotely. (Students who need to remain on campus throughout the Thanksgiving break will be asked not to travel during that time.)
The class and exam time after Thanksgiving will be shortened from three weeks to two: one week of classes followed by one week of exams.
In addition to the revised calendar, Jones said: “We are continuing to develop and put into place policies and practices related to social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), facial coverings, enhanced cleaning protocols, testing, tracing, symptom monitoring, and reserving residential space for isolation and quarantine if students contract the disease. We are installing clear plastic barriers in appropriate places, posting signs throughout the campus, acquiring PPE, and preparing our learning and living spaces to help keep the OWU community safe. … We need to be smart and conscientious as we live and learn in this environment.”