Academic calendar updated for Fall Quarter, classes to start Sept. 16


Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

Rebecca Crown Center, home to the Office of the Provost. Northwestern has adjusted its academic calendar to reflect an earlier start to classes and a remote exam period.

Emma Edmund, Summer Editor

Northwestern updated its academic calendar for the 2020-2021 school year, including a remote exam period and an earlier start to classes.

The updated academic calendar shows classes beginning Sept. 16, almost a week earlier than planned. Fall classes now end on Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving vacation, which is also listed as the last day of “face-to-face” instruction. It’s unclear whether that means in-person instruction or some other type of instruction.

On the Monday after Thanksgiving vacation, the “remote exam period” begins, with exams ending on Dec. 5.

This timeline mirrors one of the scenarios outlined for Fall Quarter, presented at the June Faculty Senate meeting. Scenario A outlined an 11-week Fall Quarter with exams held remotely the week after Thanksgiving. At the meeting, Jacqualyn Casazza, the associate provost for University records and the University registrar, said such a schedule would allow students to leave campus before flu season begins.

“As you’ve probably heard from peers around the country, universities are really making an attempt to send faculty and students away from campus before Thanksgiving,” Casazza said at the meeting. “That’s really the motivation behind these scenarios.”

Should students go back in fall, class capacity will be greatly reduced, according to Mark Francis, the associate provost for operations and facilities. Francis said at the meeting that only 44 out of the 128 Registrar-controlled classrooms are available for socially distant classes.

Classes will likely not meet in groups of over 50 people, due to reduced capacity and potential state requirements. Larger classes may still be scheduled, but might be, for example, broken up so different groups meet at different times throughout the week.

The calendar lists Winter Quarter beginning on Jan. 4, 2021.

Update: This article has been updated to reflect more information regarding potential plans for fall in-person instruction, including the potential to hold larger classes on campus while maintaining safety guidelines.

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