In an effort to ensure the health and safety of the campus and surrounding community, Bucknell University will delay the start of the spring semester by two weeks to Monday, Feb. 1, eliminate spring break and end the semester on Monday, May 17. Commencement is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, May 23, but the date is subject to change pending the health and safety limitations presented by pandemic conditions in early 2021.
The later semester start date will accommodate pre-return COVID-19 testing and a careful planning of the spring move-in process, similar to what was used when students returned to campus in mid-August. It will also give University faculty time to prepare their courses for both in-person and remote education.
"As the pandemic continues, we have finalized necessary adjustments to the spring semester calendar, with a goal of safely continuing in-person education with our current model of hybrid instruction," wrote Bucknell Provost Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak in an email to students.
Elimination of spring break will keep students and University employees on campus while classes will continue during that week.
"While I know this [elimination of spring break] is not ideal for students, faculty or staff, we must mitigate the risk of a campus outbreak by continuing to reduce travel," Mermann-Jozwiak wrote.
Classes will end on Friday, May 7, while final exams will be completed on May 17.
"Our goal is to hold final exams in-person this spring, so unlike this semester, students in residence will remain on campus during finals," Mermann-Jozwiak wrote.
Spring classes will be delivered in a hybrid format and students will again have the option of learning in-person or remotely. Students who choose to learn remotely will not be able to return to campus to visit during the spring semester as the University will continue to limit visitors to campus.