After having students on campus for in-person instruction throughout the pandemic that reshaped the 2020-21 academic year, Bucknell University will again welcome students to campus for in-person classes in 2021-22. The University will also return to its regular, unmodified academic calendar for the fall 2021 semester and potentially the spring 2022 semester, barring a COVID-19 resurgence.
First-year students will arrive on campus for New Student Orientation on Wednesday, Aug. 18, with fall semester classes beginning on Monday, Aug. 23. Unlike fall 2020, there will be a fall break beginning when classes end on Friday, Oct. 8, and extending through Tuesday, Oct. 12, and students will have a Thanksgiving break. Fall classes will end on Tuesday, Dec. 7, with final exams finishing on Thursday, Dec. 16.
Spring semester classes will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, with spring break scheduled from March 12 to 20.
"During this academic year, the campus community has come together as never before to meet the demands of this unprecedented challenge and ensure students could attend in-person classes," President John Bravman says. "Given the rising rate of vaccination across the nation, we feel confident that campus operations will return to a greater level of normalcy in 2021-22."
Bucknell will continue to adhere to its COVID-19 class schedule next fall, which allows 30 minutes between classes for aerosol dispersion and additional cleaning, if needed.
"As we move forward and emerge from the pandemic, we will do so cautiously and deliberately," says Robert Midkiff, vice president for strategic initiatives. "Hopefully, by next January, we will no longer need to have these (additional cleaning) extensions."
Midkiff also credits faculty, staff and students for coming together as "an amazing community that works well together in a crisis." He anticipates the University will likely continue to conduct outdoor classes when the weather permits, and maintain enhanced outdoor WiFi capacity and other measures instituted during the pandemic.
"While we will once again conduct residential and in-person teaching and learning, we will likely see greater integration of technology and online instruction in the future," Midkiff says. "However, it is unlikely that we will create online programs or offer courses in a virtual format on a routine basis. Our strength is found in the intimate, hands-on collaboration between faculty and students that is most effectively provided in face-to-face interactions."
Commencement for the Class of 2022 is scheduled for Sunday, May 22, 2022.