University News

University Announces Changes to Fall Semester Academic Calendar

Published: July 28, 2020 | Categories: All News, Law, Business, Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Engineering

With the goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19, Western New England University has announced changes to the academic calendar for the fall semester.

University President Anthony S. Caprio notified students of the institution's plans in an email, citing the rising trend line of new COVID-19 cases across the country. The changes include a move to online instruction and final exams following the Thanksgiving break, as well as holding classes on Labor Day and the traditional two-day fall break around Columbus Day. Western New England previously announced its intent to resume face-to-face instruction and welcome students back to campus with the start of the fall semester August 31.

"The decision to modify the fall calendar was precipitated by the concern that mass migrations off-and-on campus attributable to the three originally scheduled breaks – Labor Day, Fall Break, and the Thanksgiving holiday – could contribute to higher COVID-19 exposure and infections among members of our campus community," wrote Caprio.

While the final week of classes and final exams will be conducted exclusively online, the campus will remain open and students will have the option of returning to utilize the residence halls and the full range of the University's academic resources. The campus will be open during the Thanksgiving break as well for those students who wish to remain in their residence hall over the holiday.

"These changes will allow students and their families to determine what is in their own best interest," said Curt Hamakawa, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Students who want to utilize our libraries, laboratories, dining facilities, and other resources will have that option."

Under the revised schedule, fall semester undergraduate classes will conclude December 4, one week earlier than previously scheduled. The following week will be a reading period, with final exams conducted December 14-18.

The University is also implementing changes at the start of the semester. All students will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the start of classes. In order to decrease congestion and increase social distancing, new and returning students will have the option of making an appointment to drop off their personal belongings at their residence hall during special "Drop-off days" August 10-21. Move-in for incoming first-year students has been expanded from one to two days August 26 and 27, with returning students moving in August 28 and 29. All students will be assigned a designated move-in time, and the number of guests will be limited to avoid congestion.

The University has implemented a dedicated helpline to answer questions related to its reopening plans. Students are invited to call 413-782-1321 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.