By Graciela Caneiro-Livingston
When we started the fall semester, we knew coronavirus cases would emerge, and we planned accordingly. After 10 weeks together, we have no evidence of COVID-19 being transmitted within NWU classrooms. The vigilance and sacrifices made by our students, faculty and staff are what allow us to be together this fall; and they are what will allow us to be together again for the spring semester.
We expect the pandemic to continue during some or all of the spring semester. This expectation has led us to adjust the university calendar. Winter break will be extended one week to allow our faculty additional planning time. Evening classes will begin on Monday, January 18 (Martin Luther King Day). All other classes will begin on Tuesday, January 19.
We will teach classes in person to the extent possible, with a blended format that allows for necessary social distancing. Like many schools across the country, we are eliminating spring break to minimize the risk associated with increased travel. Easter break, scheduled for April 2-5, will continue as planned. The semester will end on May 6 with commencement following on May 8.
Preregistration for the spring semester will take place the first two weeks of November. Each student has been assigned a date and time to register. Students are to meet individually with their advisor to assure they’re on the right path to their degree. Students must also resolve any account balances or be current on their payment plans.
As a reminder, classes on campus will conclude November 20, followed by a week-long break for Thanksgiving, November 23-27. We will finish the final two weeks of the semester remotely, November 30-December 7. Residential students do not need to move out of their rooms, but should pack accordingly since they will be away from campus for several weeks.
While this new normal still feels awkward, students’ efforts to protect the pack this fall have shown us how special the NWU community truly is. We feel deeply fortunate to be together now, in a time when so many other schools don’t have this same opportunity.
—Graciela Caneiro-Livingston is the university provost.