December 16, 2020

Dear Students, Families, Faculty, and Staff,

Congratulations—fall semester 2020 is now officially complete and we made it through, which is a testament to your cooperation, hard work, and community-mindedness. Thank you.

Our conversations over the past several weeks have been focused on what lies ahead. As I’m sure you know, public health experts are predicting a very difficult winter. I write today to tell you that we have moved the start date of the spring 2020 semester to Monday, February 15, from the previously communicated Wednesday, February 3.

As you are aware, the number of cases of COVID-19 across the country and lives lost have been increasing significantly for the past two months. The fact that vaccines are beginning to be distributed is heartening. In fact, it is remarkable. However, most college students and many staff and faculty are not high on the list of initial recipients.

As I wrote in my October 28 note to you about spring plans, we intend to welcome up to 1,200 students to campus. Based on the guidance of public health experts and our experience with the fall semester, we know that maximizing the time students can spend outdoors can, over the course of the semester, decrease the risk of transmission. Primarily for that reason, we will begin the spring semester 12 days later than originally planned, while making sure that the semester, including finals, concludes by Friday, May 28. This will allow students to pursue summer internships and jobs in June.

We remind you of some important dates: 

  • Housing assignments process: December 3-16

  • Housing assignments notification: December 18

  • Classes begin: Monday, February 15

  • Finals conclude: Friday, May 28

  • Graduation: Sunday, May 30 (ceremony details to be determined)

I would like to ask those students who have indicated they plan to be on campus this spring—but who may still be unsure about whether to study here or remotely—to let us know their final intention as soon as possible, but by January 5, so that we can offer available spots to other students who wish to study on-campus. If you have changed your mind and now wish to study remotely or take a voluntary leave, please let your class dean know as soon as possible.

You will be hearing many more details about spring semester in January, and you will receive information about move-in dates the week of December 28 so you can make travel plans. In the meantime, please have a safe and healthy holiday, if you celebrate, and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.