Happy New Year, everyone! I hope and pray that your break has been restful and blessed.
This email is meant to prepare you for your spring 2021 academic experiences at Concordia. Because our world is still dealing with the effects of the COVID virus, Concordia will continue to use the protocols from fall 2020 during spring terms. That means that your spring 2021 academic experiences will be very similar to those you experienced in fall 2020 (for those of you who were taking classes then). We will do our best to provide as much face-to-face learning as possible, where that is expected, but recognize that COVID-related restrictions on both instructors and students will drive some learning to virtual delivery. Those of you in post-traditional academic programs have already see a shift to virtual learning, on the whole.
Here are some more specific things you should know about spring semester:
- For students in programs with traditional spring semesters (SOP students start 11 January and all others start 25 January), your first class period will be virtual, just as it was in fall 2020.
- Your instructors’ Bb page should give you instruction about how to access their Zoom meeting spaces.
- For students who have face-to-face class periods, please know that weather conditions (such as a blizzard) will not necessarily cancel classes.
- The Provost Office on the Mequon campus, the Vice President Office on the Ann Arbor campus, and the Assistant Vice President for ECO will still make announcements when it is unsafe to travel to and from our physical classroom sites. But classes will not necessarily be cancelled.
- Individual instructors will determine whether their classes will be transformed into virtual classes during the weather period. Instructors will have specific instructions in their syllabi about their plan in case of weather days.
- Because of COVID, we have taken the normal spring break out of this semester’s schedule.
- We are retaining our normal Easter break schedule, cancelling classes that start after 4pm on Thursday, 1 April (Maundy Thursday) all the way through daytime classes on 5 April (Easter Monday). Classes resume at 4pm on 5 April.
- We are providing an additional break from classes in the traditional semesters in early March.
- There will be two scheduled Rest and Refresh (R&R) days in spring 2021: Tuesday, 9 March, and Wednesday, 10 March 2021. Daytime synchronous classes (face-to-face, virtual, or poly-synchronous) will not meet on these two days. This is an academic initiative to provide a little break in the middle of the spring semester to allow students (and instructors) the chance to catch their collective breath from some of their academic responsibilities.
- The R&R break should not be a time for travel. All campus offices and facilities will be open as usual per COVID protocols (library, fitness center, dining hall etc.) but students can take a physical and mental break from classes.
- The Rest and Refresh break will apply to all academic programs in which the previously-scheduled spring break recess was taken out of the Spring 2021 schedule.
- If a course meets one of the following criteria, it can meet on an R&R day:
- Meets only one time per week on that day
- Is a student teaching/internship/clinical/practicum course, or has a clinical component (e.g. patients/clients come to campus on that day for a scheduled session)
- By compressing the spring semesters, we have moved final exam week to 3-7 May and the Spring Commencement ceremonies to 7-9 May.
- Plans for our Spring Commencements are still in the works as we evaluate the continuing impact of COVID on large gatherings. When we know more about commencement plans, we will share them with you.
Thank you for your patience in working through this information. I was very impressed by the perseverance and flexibility of both students and instructors in working through unusual circumstances in fall. I’m excited to welcome you back to our spring classes and look forward to the opportunity for Concordia to be a part of your educational plans for Spring 2021. May God continue to bless you in your preparations!
In His service,
William Cario, Ph.D.