In an attempt to “prioritize the health and safety of [St. John’s] students, faculty, administrators, and staff,” the University’s spring 2021 academic calendar has been altered as of Wednesday Sept. 30, according to an internal communication from the University.
The semester now begins on Thursday, Jan. 28 instead of Wednesday, Jan. 20. Classes will be held on President’s Day and the University will offer no spring break for students and faculty.
“The main reason for the calendar adjustment is to prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty, administrators, and staff by reducing spring break travel and the potential COVID-19 exposure of members of the campus community,” the email, addressed from Nada M. Llewellyn, associate vice president for Human Resources, Chief Diversity Officer and Deputy General Counsel and Simon G. Møller, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said.
“We know that this change may disrupt your spring break vacation planning and we want to communicate this to you as early as possible,” the email said.
As of now, Easter holiday recess will be observed and Final Exam week remains the same. Easter break falls on April 1-5, and Final Exam Week is May 6-12.
“Easter is the most important religious celebration of the Christian community,” Møller said in an email to the Torch. “Students and employees will be reminded and expected to practice appropriate health and safety protocols when participating in religious celebrations and visiting with family.”
Regardless of whether the semester transitions to a fully online format, there will be no spring break according to Møller.
“The elimination of Spring Break is already factored into the revised academic calendar as the start date of the Spring, 2021 semester was changed to Thursday, January 28,” he said.
“As we continue to navigate the uncertainties related to the COVID-19 health crisis, we are grateful for your continued patience as we work to keep our community safe” the email continues.
According to the email, the changes were made upon the recommendation of the University’s Academic Calendar Committee, which is composed of faculty, administrators and students. The changes were subsequently approved by University President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw.