More In-Person Classes Encouraged For Spring Semester; Break Dates Revised

Students attend a class in Kimpel Hall Auditorium during the first week of classes.
Photo by Whit Pruitt

Students attend a class in Kimpel Hall Auditorium during the first week of classes.

Students at the U of A are encouraged to take more in-person and hybrid classes as plans for the upcoming 2021 spring semester are being finalized.

Part of those plans also include an update to the 2021 spring academic calendar as the traditional weeklong spring break will be split into smaller breaks throughout the semester.  

ADDITIONAL IN-PERSON CLASSES

While the U of A remains committed to supporting students by offering a variety of in-person, remote and hybrid courses, more in-person classes will be offered for the upcoming semester. Faculty are also being encouraged to provide in-person classes in the belief that they can be done safely based on the low infection rates among faculty, staff and graduate students.

“Provost (Charles) Robinson and I believe that in-person classes are important to the energy and atmosphere of campus and are critical to making a University of Arkansas education unique,” Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said in his most recent letter to campus.

Students are encouraged to work with their academic adviser when registering for courses determining which specific type of instruction meets their needs. Students should also enroll for courses with the expectation that they will engage in that mode of instruction for the duration of the course.

CLASS ATTENDANCE

All courses will still be recorded next semester due to the chance of students needing to quarantine, self-isolate or miss class due to COVID-19-based risk factors and concerns. However, in order to maximize engagement of students in the classroom, faculty may require in-person attendance for students enrolled in an in-person course, barring health exemptions a student may have.

Students who may have COVID-19 related circumstances that are not addressed through the Center for Educational Access (CEA) and will impact their ability to engage in face-to-face courses are asked to fill out the COVID-19 Academic Flexibility Request form. The request cannot be guaranteed and materials should be submitted by December 4, 2020.

For questions regarding the Center for Educational Access and their accommodation process, please visit the CEA website or contact the office at 575-3104. For questions regarding the COVID-19 Academic Flexibility Request process, please visit U of A Cares or contact the office at 575-5004.

SPRING BREAK

The spring semester will begin on January 11, 2021 as it is currently scheduled in the university’s academic calendar. The traditional weeklong Spring Break holiday will be split into smaller intermittent breaks throughout the semester to limit travel and reduce the chance of the virus being spread by those who may have traveled or returned from other locations. 

Those smaller breaks will occur on the following days:

  • Feb. 22-23
  • March 25-26 (March 26 will be the all-university holiday, per usual.)
  • April 2

See the academic calendar for other key spring semester dates.

“With more in-person courses and more students on campus this spring, keeping the community closer to campus will be important,” Chancellor Steinmetz said. “That was a key factor in our decision to spread out the traditional student Spring Break days throughout the semester as many other universities are doing. While any change to Spring Break may be unpopular to some, students and faculty were included as a part of the decision-making process and agreed that this was our best option.”

For the latest updates and information pertaining to the impact of the coronavirus at the U of A, please visit the university's COVID-19 website. You can also send questions to feedback@uark.edu.

About the University of Arkansas: The U of A provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among fewer than 3 percent of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the U of A comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

John F. Thomas, manager of university communications
University Relations
479-575-7430, jfthomas@uark.edu

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