Southwestern Announces Revision to Fall Academic Calendar

Southwestern College has announced a revised calendar for the upcoming Fall semester. The college will begin their semester early and finish before Thanksgiving, allowing for an extended winter break.

In an email sent to new and returning students this past Friday, Southwestern College President Brad Andrews wrote, “After reviewing our academic calendar, and considering scenarios to provide the highest probability of a healthy and full semester, we will begin our academic semester one week early on Monday, August 10, 2020, and we will complete our academic semester before Thanksgiving, with the last day of finals being Tuesday, November 24, 2020.”

Additionally, the college has removed Fall Break from the 2020 calendar and will hold classes on Labor Day.

“These revisions to the calendar allow us to reduce the risks of mid-semester travel and maximize the likelihood that we all remain healthy and meeting in-person throughout the fall semester,” wrote Andrews. “We also believe this approach is the best option for the safety and well-being of our students and their families, and for our faculty and staff.”

Staff at the college are planning a staged move-in and check-in process to bring students back to campus in a coordinated way to reduce contact. Residential students will have a scheduled date and time for move-in with options to arrange for drop-off their belongings ahead of time. 

“While our campus is quiet right now, teams of people are working tirelessly to welcome all of our new and returning students to our campus, our residence halls, our classrooms, and our athletic facilities,” wrote Andrews. “I am grateful to our team, as well as our local public health experts and government and civic leaders, who have been working through complex and challenging times to prepare our campus and community for the upcoming semester with diligence and care.”

The college has a team of staff and faculty serving on a COVID-19 Planning Team. The group has already implemented the Return to Campus Plan which allowed staff to return to work on campus June 1. The group is now working to finish and implement the Return to School Plan which will outline the procedures and provisions for returning students to campus and for in-person instruction.

Though the details of the plan are still in development, the college will enact public health measures including face masks, physical-distancing requirements, and daily health self-assessments and temperature monitoring; policies will be modified to limit travel; enhanced cleaning; modified dining and carry-out options. Additionally, the college has set aside housing units on campus for residential students who may need to isolate for a period of time. To accommodate those who may need to self-isolate or whose health conditions require time away from the physical classroom, faculty are developing high-quality hybrid approaches to course delivery.

With guidance from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, fall sports will also move forward with a modified schedule. The start dates for team conditioning, practice, and competition have all been pushed back, allowing teams additional time to settle into new procedures for participation.

“To be sure there are more details to work through and plans to implement, but I know that we will all move forward doing our best to offer each other support, understanding, and grace,” said Andrews. “I know that we will all demonstrate the Builder spirit that connects us – we care about each other, and we care for each other. This is what makes ours a truly unique and special community. This is what I look forward to most, as we gather together in seven short weeks.”

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