BU Pushes Back Start of 2021 Spring Semester, Cancels Spring Break
Provost says changes are in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
- BU’s spring semester, originally planned to start January 19, will start January 25
- Spring recess has been canceled
- University plans to continue LfA for the spring semester
As the COVID-19 pandemic shows few signs of a quick retreat, the University has announced that it will push back the start of the 2021 spring semester to Monday, January 25, from its originally scheduled start on January 19. In a letter sent Tuesday to faculty, staff, and students, Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer, says there will be no spring break recess this year. The remainder of the spring calendar is unchanged at this time.
“These adjustments are designed to reduce our community’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 by limiting the amount of travel occurring within the semester,” Morrison writes. “I know the loss of spring break will be a disappointment to many of you, but we believe that this is an important public health measure that must be taken this year.”
The changes apply to the schools and colleges that follow the University calendar; the School of Law, the School of Social Work, and the Medical Campus schools may choose to set different calendars.
At this time, the provost writes, the University is planning to continue the Learn from Anywhere (LfA) model during the spring semester. BU will also continue the elements of Back2BU that have been working, and add improvements based on experiences so far. The University will continue to offer students the option to learn remotely if they are unable to be here in person. Graduate and professional programs will contact students directly if LfA is not an option for their program in the spring 2021 semester.
The provost says that Housing and Residence Life will communicate any Residence Calendar changes to all undergraduates living in campus housing in early November. She advises new and continuing students to plan for an extended move-in and return schedule in January, with reserved arrival dates and times, similar to the move-in schedule used at the start of the fall 2020 semester.
More information about the spring semester move-in process will be announced shortly.
“It is impossible to predict with any certainty at this time what next spring will look like,” Morrison says, “so we will continue to closely monitor global and local health trends and will alert the community if these plans change at any point. In the coming weeks we will consider several other important decisions about the spring 2021 semester, including the workplace adjustment request process and the status of spring Study Abroad programs. Those decisions will be communicated as soon as they are finalized.”
Nick Bornstein (CAS’21) says he thinks student will be upset with the loss of spring break. “But I think the administration has earned a lot of trust for how successful the return to campus this fall has been,” he says. “If canceling spring break means we get to have an uninterrupted spring semester and, in my case, a fairly ordinary graduation, I’ll take it.”
Sean Richichi (ENG’22) thinks the calendar change makes sense. “It eliminates the need to quarantine after spring break by just tacking spring break onto the end of winter break,” he says.
One student comment on Reddit expressed concern about how the absence of Spring Break might affect students’ mental well-being.
“I get why they’re doing this,” wrote another student. “But like….god what a blow to everyone’s mental health. Why not do something similar to Thanksgiving break and tell anyone who leaves not to come back? Or even just split it up over 2 weeks…. Literally anything to give us a mid-semester break”
“Winter break is already long enough,” wrote another student. “By the time I’m at the latter end of winter break I’m already over it, I wish they just made the spring semester in general end one week earlier so I can graduate even earlier.
Another Reddit post asked if it was possible to cancel spring housing and when, and if a refund for room and board would be offered.
One Tweet suggested that “If you’re going to overwork students during a pandemic without giving them a break, make classes pass/fail”