The Office of Academic Affairs has announced several significant adjustments of Siena’s 2020-2021 academic calendar to help ensure the safety of our campus community during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and to offer new opportunities for students to engage in winter term online coursework.
These changes were developed with input from students, faculty and administrators gathered during recent focus groups. A calendar of the session dates is attached.
Siena will now offer four winter sessions: two sessions of four weeks each; one six-week session; and one eight-week session. Students will be limited to two courses total for the entire winter term, and all courses will be held online.
The spring 2021 semester will begin on Monday, February 22, more than a month later than usual. We plan to welcome students back to campus and host classes in the current hybrid format of in-person and online. There will be no spring break. The Monday following Easter (April 5) and a designated Midterm Reading Day (April 28) will be the only days with no classes. Commencement – which we hope we will be able to hold in person – is scheduled for Sunday, May 30.
Driving the changes to the academic calendar is the imperative to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and the projection that a safe and effective vaccine could be available as soon as the end of the year:
- The longer we wait to begin the spring 2021 semester, the greater the possibility that a COVID-19 vaccine will be developed and distributed.
- We can more effectively avoid a “twindemic” – a combination of flu season overlaid by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- Eliminating spring break will limit members of our community leaving campus for home or vacation and possibly spreading or contracting the virus.
Please note that these well-laid plans are subject to change depending on the track of the pandemic and the availability of a vaccine. More information will follow regarding registration for the winter and spring terms.