With the first month of the semester under our belts, I would like to pause to acknowledge the careful planning, creative problem-solving and exemplary adherence to safety protocols that have allowed us to be together this fall. This is a proud and happy moment for us all.
At the same time, it is a precarious moment. We understand that the pandemic is still with us and that the public health context can change at any time. We are also nearing the winter months, when more time indoors and flu season could pose additional threats. With these considerations in mind, we have made the following plans:
- Thanksgiving recess begins Wednesday, Nov. 25 and extends through Monday, Nov. 30. Classes resume remotely on Tuesday, Dec. 1, with all classes and exams conducted online for the remainder of the semester. Students with special considerations (such as international students for whom travel is not advisable or students who depend on Wesleyan for housing) may petition to remain on campus over winter break. All other students must depart no later than Wednesday, Nov. 25 at noon.
- Students may return to campus for the spring semester beginning Friday, Feb. 5, and classes will begin online on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Students whose theses or capstone projects require them to be on campus will be able to petition to return prior to Feb. 5 on a case-by-case basis. That petition will be distributed at a later date, and consideration will be given to any petitions by those who feel their work cannot be done remotely.
- We continue to review the risk profile for athletics and for spring study abroad programs. We will be providing updates in the coming weeks.
We expect our February return will entail similar safety precautions to those that have proved effective so far this fall: students limiting exposure and getting tested prior to traveling back to Middletown; an initial two-week quarantine period on campus (Feb. 5-20); frequent testing and procedures for supportive isolation and contact tracing; and a no-travel, two-day spring break (March 23-24), which will negate the need for a post-break quarantine period. When we return next semester, we must maintain our vigilance with respect to social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing. If all goes well, we expect the semester to end in late May, with final exams May 18-21. We anticipate hosting Commencement on Sunday, May 30, and will determine the celebration’s format, as well as the celebration for the Class of 2020, as we get closer to the spring.
We will be in touch with more specifics later this semester. These are challenging times, but I am heartened by the many ways that you have risen to these challenges. Thank you for all you are doing to care for yourselves and one another.
Michael S. Roth