Modifications to the academic calendar have solidified University of Nebraska–Lincoln plans for a return to on-campus, in-person instruction in the fall 2020 semester.
Announced in a May 29 email from Chancellor Ronnie Green, the university’s Forward to Fall plan includes an early start and pre-Thanksgiving end to the semester with the opportunity for students to participate in an optional three-week remote instruction mini-session in late November and December. Designed to reduce travel and potential exposure to COVID-19, the fall schedule also eliminates holidays for Labor Day and a traditional fall break.
Green said the plan for a compressed semester allows the university to continue its land-grant mission; support greater access and achievement of students; preserve high-quality educational experiences; move forward with global impacts of research and creative activity; and reduce safety risks to protect the campus and larger community.
“We recognize that these changes to the fall calendar present new challenges, but they also present new opportunities,” Green said. “It will also give us greater flexibility should there be a resurgence of infections later in the fall.”
The updated fall semester will begin on Aug. 17, one week earlier than previously scheduled, with remote instruction. In-person teaching will begin Aug. 24.
Other important dates for the semester are:
Sept. 7 (Labor Day): Classes will meet. For employees, Labor Day will be considered a working holiday, similar to Presidents Day, Arbor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day;
Oct. 19-20: Fall break has been suspended, and classes will meet Oct. 19-20;
Nov. 19-20: “Fifteenth Week” preparation for finals; and
Nov. 21-25: Final exams.
After Thanksgiving, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 18, the university will offer a three-week, mini-session via online instruction. Additional details about the mini-session will be announced.
“As we are doing this summer, we will be able to offer innovative new courses during this session to help our students continue their educational journey,” Green said. “These courses will include expanded opportunities for experiential learning, career preparedness, and unique course subjects based on the historic times we are experiencing.”
All fall courses planned for online instruction are not impacted by changes to the academic calendar and will be offered as previously scheduled. At this time, fall commencement exercises continue to be tentatively planned for Dec. 18-19.
The university will announce additional Forward to Fall plans — including plans for campus housing — as details are finalized.
“We are very much looking forward to welcoming students back to campus in the fall, perhaps this year more than ever,” Green said. “I want to thank all of the faculty, staff and students who have engaged creatively to figure out these complex issues.
“We have truly demonstrated a Nebraska can-do spirit and, I am very confident in our continued success.”