Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
I am writing today to update you on our plans for the spring semester and changes being made to continue supporting the health and well-being of our university community as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. While details will be worked out in the coming weeks and months and more updates will be forthcoming, I want you to have the latest information so that you can plan accordingly.
Given the current public health guidelines and restrictions outlined in the state’s Restore Illinois plan, an in-person celebration of our December graduates is, unfortunately, not possible. NIU will instead move forward and honor May, August and December 2020 graduates with virtual ceremonies later this fall. More information about these opportunities will be emailed to all eligible graduates by Friday, Oct. 16.
While it’s likely that you expected this news, I recognize that it’s still heartbreaking for our graduates and their families. Even though the pandemic has stolen many important milestones from us, nothing can change the fact that through hard work, talent and perseverance, our graduates will have earned degrees from NIU and be able to begin their new paths forward. We are incredibly proud of these students, especially given the unprecedented hardships and changes they’ve had to endure, and we look forward to a virtual celebration.
Continuing to reduce the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19 requires that the university adjust the spring schedule. University Council met Oct. 7 and approved a revised spring 2021 academic calendar. The spring semester will start Monday, Jan. 11, and will end one week earlier, on April 30. There will be no spring break and, instead, the university will offer all students, faculty and staff a three-day weekend beginning Friday, March 12, and one additional non-instructional closure day to be determined, where classes will not meet and university offices will be closed. Final exams will be held April 24, 26-30, and commencement dates will remain unchanged for now.
These changes help reduce travel-related exposures but also allow for breaks in the semester to recharge.
Spring semester course modalities will closely resemble what we did this fall (online, face-to-face and hybrid), and will continue to adapt to any changes that might need to occur in response to the pandemic. Students will be able to access the spring schedule of classes with information about each course’s modality on MyNIU beginning Thursday, Oct. 15. Course registration will begin the first week of November, and students should meet with their advisors in advance of registering to understand options and stay on track for graduation.
Students living on campus will again be required to schedule move-in times and provide negative COVID-19 test results just prior to their scheduled return date. The university is working now to develop an efficient testing process for students to complete these requirements and will provide more information to residential students in mid-November. We will also continue to only offer single rooms for the spring semester.
University Offices and Services
Our staff is doing a terrific job with maintaining on-campus services even as we have had to reduce density on campus. Units should also plan for the spring to look similar to the fall for our employees, and supervisors should continue to be flexible, when able, to allow employees to work from home or use flex hours.
I greatly appreciate all of your hard work, flexibility and patience during this time. I am truly proud of the Huskie community and how you have supported one another during this time.
Please direct any questions to the Office of the Executive Vice President/Provost (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Executive Vice President and Provost