Central Michigan University President Bob Davies announced today the decision to begin and end the fall 2020 semester early in an effort to reduce the risk of community spread of COVID-19 and influenza.
The new schedule moves the first day of classes to Aug. 17 — two weeks earlier than previously scheduled — and concludes classes Nov. 25.
"By moving up the start and conclusion of our fall semester, we seek to significantly reduce the number of students, faculty and staff returning to and from campus for the Thanksgiving holiday and through December," Davies said. "This reduces the likelihood of potential spread of infectious diseases like the flu and COVID-19 on our campus and in our community."
In addition, the new schedule avoids peak flu season and a possible resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the colder winter months, as suggested by some health experts.
A phased move-in for residence halls and on-campus apartments will begin Aug. 13. Students will move back in waves to allow for maximum social distancing.
Fall events such as homecoming and commencement also are being reviewed, and dates and details are likely to change.
CMU Provost Mary C. Schutten said a new model for class delivery will assist students who may struggle to move back to Mount Pleasant early, as well as help to ensure social distancing.
"We have implemented hybrid-flexible, or HyFlex, which provides students the option to attend classes face-to-face or online in a synchronous model, or both, to ensure less density in the classroom," she said.
Davies said CMU leadership also is reviewing the spring 2021 schedule but has not yet made any modifications.
"Our plans are aligned with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's phased plan for reopening the state of Michigan and incorporate public health guidance from both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our state and local health departments. Central Michigan University will continue to adhere to this guidance closely," he said.
"We are thrilled to have our students returning to Mount Pleasant for the fall semester, and we will ensure we do it as safely as possible."
More information on changes to the fall schedule can be found on the Fall Semester Schedule Q&A.