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COVID updates to academic calendar and classroom instruction

September 17, 2020

Fall break, Thanksgiving, final exams and commencement 2020

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FROM: Dr. William Cario, Provost; Dr. Steve Taylor, Vice President, Student Life; Dr. Gretchen Jameson, SVP, Strategy and University Affairs; Dr. Ryan Peterson, Vice President, Administration

Thank you. Truly, Concordians, thank you for the positive choices you make each day to help keep our Concordia campus community safe and healthy. Statewide news from colleges and universities makes one thing abundantly clear: when it comes to the spread of COVID-19, your choices matter.

Smart, safe, conservative behavior makes the difference between a campus that remains functioning and safe vs. a campus that is shuttered and sheltered in place. It is for this reason—and following extensive consultation with the Concordia Health Center team, a review of the public health evidence, and with the input of our academic deans, Faculty Senate, and campus leaders on both campuses—that we have made the following decisions about our campus calendar and instructional plan.

Fall break, October 15-16, 2020

Traditional undergraduate programs and classes will break for the planned fall semester break. However, we urge traditional undergraduate students to consider remaining in the residence halls in lieu of travel.

You need (and have earned) your break. However, extended weekends result in increased COVID case counts. Student Life is working on an array of activities for those who elect to stay on campus. We ask every student, faculty, and staff member to think very carefully about their fall break plans and to make choices that err on the side of caution. You have the power to help us continue to successfully hold back the COVID infection rate on our campuses. Each of us must demonstrate personal responsibility for the benefit of our whole community.

Thanksgiving break, November 25-29, 2020

Following Thanksgiving break, traditional graduate and undergraduate students will choose whether to complete their fall semester either virtually or in-person.

After Thanksgiving break, students will choose whether to learn in-person or virtually/online during the week of November 20 - December 4. Some courses cannot accommodate poly-synchronous experiences. Your professors will notify you if that is the case for any of your classes.

Final exams, December 7-11, 2020

All final exams, final projects and papers, and other culminating assessment experiences will be delivered virtually/online during the week of December 7-11.

Students will complete most exams and/or submit final papers and projects via Blackboard. Some courses require in-person exams (for example, laboratory practicals, or exams that must be given face-to-face due to accreditation requirements). Your professors will notify you if that is the case for any of your classes.

Campus access, November 30-December 11, 2020

During the final weeks of the semester (the last week of class and final exam week), campus will remain open.

Residence halls, dining services, library and computer services will be open and available to students. Faculty will be available both in-person and virtually/online to support you. Students will have the choice whether to access the fullness of their Concordia academic and campus life experience in-person or virtually. There will not be any refunds distributed to students who opt to reside off campus while taking their last week of class and their final exams virtually.

Annual Christmas celebrations, 2020

Our annual Christmas celebrations (Christmas at Concordia in Wisconsin and The Boar’s Head Festival in Ann Arbor) will not be held in-person.

The festivals that happen in early December are meaningful traditions for all Concordians. Given the concern in bringing together large groups of people, particularly when singing, we will not host Christmas at Concordia (Wisconsin campus) or The Boar’s Head Festival (Ann Arbor campus) in-person this December.

Our fine arts departments are at work across both campuses designing memorable, high quality virtual concert experiences. We look forward to celebrating the joy of our Savior’s birth, even and especially during these challenging days. Watch for more details coming soon.

December commencement, December 12-13, 2020

December Commencement (12 and 13) will be a virtual ceremony.

The December degree conferral will take place virtually on Saturday, December 12 for CUW and Sunday December 13 for CUAA. More details will be communicated from the Provost over the coming weeks.

Students, we realize this message is full of many changes during this already changed fall. We know this isn’t likely the news you hope to receive. And yet, we are incredibly grateful for everything you are doing, each and every day, to ensure the virus remains as contained as possible. Our sincere goal is to achieve our mission, together, this year in a safe and robust way. Every one of us is working hard toward that common goal.

Thank you for continuing to do your part in this effort. We are incredibly thankful for you and continue to pray each day for your health and well-being.