Update on Winter and Spring Quarter Plans: Message for Faculty & Staff

December 15, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

I write to update you about the university’s plans for Winter Quarter and Spring Quarter. (A separate communication will be sent to the Law School outlining plans for Spring Semester and addressing issues specific to the School of Law).

As our Jesuit tradition teaches us, we must regularly assess our context and experience. The adjustments to our plans are in response to the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases locally and across the U.S. and informed by current public health guidance and information. The plans were developed by the university’s COVID-19 Containment and Prevention (C-CAP) working group, approved by the President’s Reopening Task Force, and approved by President Sundborg. The university also consulted with Dr. Michael Myint, the infectious disease consultant who has assisted the university throughout the pandemic.

I am grateful for our community’s diligence and resilience during Fall Quarter. We have a shared responsibility and our collective efforts contributed to a successful fall with limited COVID-19 cases and an enriching learning experience on-campus and online. The updated plans I outline below are designed to promote the health and safety of our community while allowing us to continue to deliver excellent academic programs for our students. These plans are also subject to change depending on the evolving context of the pandemic and the latest public health guidance.  

The following are key updates to our plan:

  1. Academic Calendar: The academic calendar will remain the same. There will be no changes to the start date for Winter Quarter and Spring Quarter. Final exams will occur as scheduled, and spring break will also remain as scheduled. 
  2. Virtual Instruction - First Three Weeks of WQ: All classes with certain limited clinical exceptions will be virtual for the first three weeks of Winter Quarter (January 5 through January 24, 2021).  In-person classes will resume on Monday, January 25. We previously announced the first two weeks of Winter Quarter would be virtual, but it is necessary to extend virtual instruction an additional week to support the phased return of our residential students. 
  3. Phased Return of Residential Students: We will have a phased return for all students living in on-campus housing and all students will live in single occupancy residential hall units. The phased move-in will occur over four weeks (January 2 through January 30, 2021). Essential student workers, students with in-person classes, and in-season student-athletes will be prioritized and offered the earliest opportunity to return to campus.  
  4. Pre-Arrival COVID Test: Residential students and students coming onto campus for any purpose will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test within five days of their scheduled arrival on-campus. 
  5. Returning College of Nursing DIUS, BSN, APNI and DNP students:  All College of Nursing students will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test within five days of attending the Clinical Performance Lab (CPL), Diagnostic Ultrasound lab, or other clinicals. 
  6. Quarantine for Residential Students and Students Coming to Campus: Students returning to the residential halls for Winter Quarter and students coming to campus for any purpose will be required to observe a 14 day in-room quarantine.
  7. Mandatory Surveillance Testing: Students residing on-campus and at Vi Hilbert and the Douglas will have mandatory weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing throughout Winter and Spring Quarter. In addition, ten percent of commuter students will be tested weekly.
  8. Spring Break Travel Advisory: The university will highly recommend that students not travel during spring break. Students who decide to travel over break may be required to follow a return to campus process that may include a 14 day in-room quarantine and COVID test.  Student Development is developing virtual activities and events to engage students during spring break.
  9. Library: The Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons facility will be closed for the first three weeks of Winter Quarter, January 5 through January 24. Access to the physical collections in all formats will be provided through a variety of contactless services, including curbside services, mailing delivery and return services, equipment lending, and digitization services. Enhanced virtual services will be available, including eReserves, information literacy instruction, learning assistance, research consultation, student peer research consultation, scholarly communication support, technology support, and the writing center. The library facility will reopen on Monday, January 25, 2021.
  10. Labs and On-Campus Study and Practice Spaces: Labs and on-campus study and practice spaces, including science and other labs, the Boeing Room, and music and theatre practice spaces will also be closed January 5 through January 24.
  11. Commencement: The university continues to review all options for the 2021 commencement, including the possibility of holding an in-person event at an outdoor venue. A final decision about commencement will be made mid-Winter Quarter.
  12. Faculty and Staff COVID-19 Testing: We will be offering free COVID-19 testing for those faculty and staff required to work on-campus. Details to follow.

Students will be informed of these updated plans tomorrow.

Thank you for your extraordinary efforts in 2020 and your perseverance as we move forward together for the remainder of the academic year.

I wish you a restful winter break and blessings of peace, joy, and hope during the Advent season.  


Shane P. Martin, Ph.D.