NU to start Winter Quarter one week late, decision on underclassmen return to come by early November


Daily file photo by Isabelle Sarraf

The Weber Arch. Northwestern announced academic calendar updates and planning for the winter in a Friday email.

Isabelle Sarraf, Campus Editor

University President Morton Schapiro announced changes to the academic calendar and potential plans to bring underclassmen back to campus in a Friday afternoon email.

Northwestern plans to begin Winter Quarter undergraduate classes Jan. 11, one week later than planned, and observe another two-week Wildcat Wellness period from Jan. 3 to 17. All classes scheduled during that period will be held remotely.

Graduate and professional school students linked to undergraduate programs — such as The Graduate School, Ph.D. programs, the School of Professional Studies and the Bienen School of Music — will also start winter classes on Jan. 11. All other graduate programs that operate independently of undergraduate schools will begin as planned Jan. 4, aside from the Pritzker School of Law, which will hear about updates soon.

“After evaluating many different scenarios, we determined that the move-in and testing time necessary to return students to campus after the winter holidays would not be possible if we began on the previous start date of Jan. 4,” the email said.

The remainder of the 2020-21 academic year will continue as originally planned — including spring break and Spring Quarter dates.

The University is also extending undergraduate international travel restrictions and prohibiting student international travel associated with winter 2021 and winter-spring 2021 study abroad programs.

NU will continue to allow the students currently on campus to return in January, including upperclassmen, underclassmen with housing exceptions and most graduate and professional students. However, the email stated NU is still finalizing plans on whether to allow underclassmen to come to campus this winter and will share decisions no later than early November.

The majority of classes will continue to be remote to enable social distancing and safety protocols, with class schedules and registration information coming in November. According to NU’s COVID-19 Dashboard, the University has conducted more than 25,500 COVID-19 tests since Aug. 19, with a positivity rate of 0.26 percent between Oct. 1 and 7.

“In our university-wide planning efforts, we are thoughtfully modeling housing scenarios, dining needs, course modality and testing and quarantine/isolation housing needs,” the email said.

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