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NIU announces Spring 2021 plan: no in-person 2020 graduations, no spring break, hybrid classes

A Canada goose was the only thing walking around the MLK Commons at Northern Illinois University on March 16 as coronavirus concerns caused the university to use modified courses to replace face-to-face instruction.
A Canada goose was the only thing walking around the MLK Commons at Northern Illinois University on March 16 as coronavirus concerns caused the university to use modified courses to replace face-to-face instruction.

DeKALB - The spring 2021 semester at Northern Illinois University won't include an in-person commencement for graduates who had their ceremonies postponed in the spring and fall, no spring break and courses will remain a hybrid mix of remote and in-person.

In a letter to students, faculty and staff Thursday, NIU Provost Beth Ingram addressed plans for the spring semester, including the elimination of spring break from the academic calendar.

Ingram said the spring semester will start Jan. 11 and April 30, one week earlier than originally scheduled. All students, faculty and staff will get a three-day weekend beginning March 12 and an additional off day to be determined.

While there are no changes for spring commencement yet for the class of 2021, Ingram said all May, August and December 2020 graduates will be honored with virtual ceremonies. More information will be mailed to graduates by Oct. 16.

"While it’s likely that you expected this news, I recognize that it’s still heartbreaking for our graduates and their families," Provost said in the letter. "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."

Ingram said courses will be similar to the fall, blending online, face-to-face and hybrid elements. Registration starts in early November.

Students living on campus will be required to schedule move-in times again and provide proof of negative COVID-19 tests prior to their return date. The school will continue to provide single rooms in the spring.

The letter also said the school is working to develop an efficient testing process to complete the move-in requirement, details of which will be available next month.


 

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