I know that one of your most pressing questions has to do with the new structure of the academic calendar. I want to thank our community in advance for understanding the importance of embracing a new reality as we restructure what our academic year usually looks like. It’s imperative that we navigate this historical time with openness, with creativity, with decisiveness and with our students’ success at the core of all we do. While we will be starting six weeks later than the fall semester would normally begin, our planning will ensure that there is enough time to complete coursework while also providing critical opportunities for recharging and refreshing, not only for our students but for our faculty and staff, as well.
The framework for the 2020-21 academic calendar is as follows, with the understanding that all of these dates are tentative, and are based on evolving state and federal public health guidelines:
- Fall semester in-person classes start Oct. 5
- No Fall break
- No classes on Thanksgiving or the following day, but incentives for students to remain on campus / in Ithaca rather than travel home
- A two-week Winter break, with fall semester classes resuming on Jan. 4 and finals the last week in January (possibly virtual, and informed by state and federal public health guidelines)
- Spring semester beginning Feb. 4 (informed by state and federal public health guidelines)
- A four-day weekend break in March, with incentives for students to remain in Ithaca
- Finals the week of May 17, with Commencement tentatively scheduled for May 30
I want to, once again, emphasize that we will build into the calendar appropriate opportunities to have “off” days—in order to take a break from academics, refresh, safely engage, and enjoy our beautiful South Hill campus with great down-time programs.
We are in this new reality for the long haul this year. I ask for your patience, strength, and hope. Our amazing community has demonstrated over its 128-year history, and in particular during the past few months, just how resilient, determined, and innovative it is. Despite unprecedented challenges, our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and members of our community have continued to push on and progress, demonstrating grit in the face of adversity and empathy in the midst of both individual and communal grief. I have been awed, inspired, and humbled by all that I have witnessed and am confident that working together, we will develop a thorough, thoughtful plan that will allow us to once again connect with each other on our beloved campus this fall.
Be safe and well,
Shirley M. Collado