By Samuel Still, Assistant News Editor–
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the academic calendar for the Spring 2021 semester has been changed, per an announcement from the University Registrar.
Classes for the Spring 2021 term will now begin on Tuesday, Jan. 19 and end on Monday, April 26 with final exams taking place from Wednesday, April 28 to Tuesday, May 4. The time formerly allotted for spring break will now be used for instructional days, but the Spring Holiday will still be observed on Friday, April 2.
These changes reflect the university’s desire to protect the health and safety of the campus community by reducing the number of opportunities for potential exposures to and spreading of COVID-19.
According to University Registrar Joel Wells, this schedule, while not ideal, was considered the best option by the Academic Calendar Committee, a group of faculty and staff which advised the university’s Executive Leadership Team on what necessary actions needed to be taken to help ensure the wellbeing of all students, faculty and staff.
“The committee felt changing the calendar in ways that minimize risk and promote public health were the best option when compared with the alternatives.” Wells said. “I think it is safe to say that none of us would choose this calendar unless faced with the threat of a very contagious and deadly virus,” he said.
For students, the new academic calendar may pose challenges and cause frustration, but for UTC Junior Laura Phillips the new calendar has some upsides.
“As disappointing as it is to not get any breaks, we are getting done earlier which I think will be nice.” Phillips said. “Although I do hope that things go back to normal at some point.”
While students like Phillips hope for a return to normalcy, Wells said that normal operations may not be reached until after the Summer and/or Fall 2021 semesters due to the changes made to the Spring semester.
“… the delay for Spring 2021 will require a change to the Summer or Fall 2021 academic calendar, which will be announced later this semester, but I do not expect changes to continue beyond that,” Wells said.
Wells and the Academic Calendar Committee will provide recommendations regarding further calendar changes to the Provost on Sept. 30, 2020. The Executive Leadership Team will then take these recommendations to make final decisions on changing the academic calendars for the Summer and Fall 2021 semesters.
Any further updates and changes made to the academic calendars will be reported by the UTC Echo. For more information regarding the new Spring 2021 academic calendar visit https://www.utc.edu/registrar/calendars-and-schedules/index.php.