University cancels Spring Break and plans for spring semester

by Shelbi Voss

The university Senate announced changes to the academic calendar after meeting on Monday. The remaining months of the 2020-21 school year will look different than in the past, as students will have full remote instruction after November 20 and no Spring Break come second semester.

The decision was announced on Tuesday in an email sent to the campus community. Chancellor Robert Jones advised that students who plan to leave campus for Fall Break should limit themselves to only essential activities beginning November 6 so as to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to other areas. He also noted that those who leave the Champaign-Urbana-Savoy area should make an effort not to return until the start of the spring semester.

As students return to campus for spring instruction they will be expected to continue COVID-19 testing immediately. Two negative tests are necessary before students can move on from being limited to essential activities. Starting January 15 students are to follow a bi-weekly testing schedule according to their graduation year. Graduate students and seniors should test January 15 and 19, juniors January 16 and 20, sophomores and anyone in University housing January 17 and 21 and freshmen on January 18 and 22. After two negative tests students will resume their normal testing schedule.

A combination of in-person and remote instruction is set to begin on January 25 as opposed to the original January 19 start date. In order to prevent travel in and out of the campus community, a 129-13 vote ruled that Spring Break would be replaced with three days off over the course of the semester. February 17, March 24 and April 13 will be non-instruction days. According to the proposal, the three-day Labor Day weekend resulted in higher positivity rates. The spring non-instruction days were methodically chosen to avoid long weekends and possible travel opportunities.

The University of Illinois is not the only Big Ten school to adapt the spring schedule for COVID-19 regulations. Eight other institutions have canceled Spring Break and some have postponed start dates or opted to end the semester early.

The full meeting is available here. Check in with Good Morning Illini on Friday morning at 10 a.m. to hear how students feel about the changes to the academic calendar.