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Spring semester planned with two-week, online-only break

Two-week, all-online instruction period meant to reduce COVID-19 exposure and infections.

The University of Utah will once again schedule a two-week, online-only break halfway through the Spring 2021 Semester to interrupt and slow COVID-19 infections on campus.

The updated schedule posted on the university Registrar’s website details the shift to all-online education during the first two weeks of March. Spring semester classes will begin one week later than normal, on Tuesday, Jan. 19, after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The online instruction break will last from March 1-14, when students, faculty and staff will return to campus. Spring break, originally slated for March 8-15, will be eliminated, to reduce the risk of infection spread due to travel and to allow the semester to end on time. Two additional non-instruction days—Friday, March 5 and Monday, April 5—have been added to the calendar.

“As we have watched COVID-19 infections ebb and flow across our community this fall, we are working to be as cautious and careful as possible in our planning for the next semester,” said Tim Ebner, university registrar.

Other important dates members of the university community should keep in mind include:

  • Two additional non-instruction days—March 5 and April 5
  • Registration begins on Nov. 5
  • Open enrollment begins Nov. 30
  • The deadline to apply for graduation is Jan. 29
  • Commencement and convocation exercises are scheduled for May 6 and May 7

“We want to be the university that gets this right,” said Dan Reed, senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “Under the wise counsel of our University of Utah Health epidemiologists, we implemented the fall semester circuit breaker, and it has served us in good stead, interrupting exposures and infections on campus. We hope to duplicate this phenomenon next spring.”

Reed also noted, “We recognize that so many of our community experienced a ‘lost summer’ due to COVID-19 issues. We really wanted to create a longer winter break to give everyone a chance to rest and recharge before the spring semester begins.”

Classes will be offered in a mix of modalities, as they were in the fall, including in-person, hybrid and interactive video conferencing.