Beloit College Adjusts 2021 Calendar to Improve Student Safety
Dec. 3, 2020 (Beloit, Wis.) — Beloit College will push back the start of its spring semester to Feb. 15 to avoid the predicted post-holiday COVID surge, avoid overlapping with the height of flu season, and provide a safer and richer student experience.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health authorities have predicted a surge upon a surge in COVID cases due to Thanksgiving and holiday travel. A record number of Americans — over 100,000 — are now hospitalized with COVID, and new cases of infection have climbed to nearly 200,000 every single day.
“We have said all along that we would rely on science and move quickly and nimbly to adjust if necessary during this unpredictable pandemic,” said Beloit President Scott Bierman. “We began with the health and safety of our community at the forefront. Scientific advice of how best to respond to COVID is driving our plans.”
Starting classes in mid-February with a mix of in-person and hybrid learning will allow enough distance between the holidays and any potential surge. “We believe that bringing students back to campus in mid-January - when health care facilities are already overrun - would be irresponsible,” Bierman said.
Classes will end May 21, and Graduation will be May 30 to allow students to start jobs or internships in June.
“Changing our academic calendar in this way gives us a good shot at more in-person instruction, especially in the second mod, beginning April 6,” said Cecil Youngblood, Beloit’s dean of students.“This also gives our entire community a much-needed extended break following the intensity of the fall.”
At the pandemic’s start, Beloit converted its standard academic year into mods: 7.5-week, two-course modules that allow for intense focus. Breaking the semester into two halves, with two courses each, helps minimize disruption should a change from in-person to remote learning occur mid-semester.
Beloit was the first college to revise its semester in this way.