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University of Iowa, ISU and UNI schedule updates: No spring break, start of spring semester pushed back

All three of Iowa's public universities have altered their academic calendars due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Just as the first few weeks of classes are underway, the University of Northern Iowa and University of Iowa have already outlined plans for the spring 2021 semester in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

UNI sent out an email to all students, staff, and faculty on Monday morning, announcing these changes:

Spring classes will begin Jan. 25, later than normally scheduled, and spring break will not be held.

Final exams will be May 3-7

The changes are aimed to "further protect our campus community while still holding a full spring semester of on-campus teaching and learning activities. The modified calendar will also allow us to offer select classes during 3-week and 6-week winter terms through distance learning," stated university officials in the email.

Here are the changes at the University of Iowa:

  • Winter 2020 semester will begin as planned Monday, Dec. 28, 2020 and expand the session by one week to include four weeks of instruction instead of three; winter 2020 will end on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.
  • Spring 2021 semester will begin Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, one week later than originally planned, and there will be no spring break. 
  • The spring 2021 semester will end Friday, May 14, 2021; professional programs may choose to maintain their current calendars; by ending the spring 2021 semester as scheduled, the summer 2021 session will begin as scheduled on May 18, 2021.
  • While the majority of winter 2020 classes will take place online, the university expects that classes for the spring 2021 semester to be offered in similar formats as the current fall semester. The university will closely monitor cases of COVID-19 throughout the winter and spring semesters and will take action deemed necessary to help mitigate the transmission of the virus.

Iowa State University will begin its spring semester on Monday, Jan. 25 2021 and end it Thursday, May 6, according to a letter from President Wendy Wintersteen.

The Jan. 25 start is two weeks later than planned, and with no spring break, will end as originally scheduled.

Since the middle of August, 135 students, staff, and faculty at UNI have tested positive when they were tested on-campus. 596 cases have been administered at the student health center. Only individuals who have symptoms of coronavirus or believe they have been exposed are eligible for a test at the university.

The university has a once-a-week coronavirus online dashboard. Contact tracers working for the university are tracking down students and staff who might have been exposed to a positive individual.

As of Monday, 30 students were in quarantine. 13 staff, students, and faculty members had self-reported to the university a positive coronavirus test last week.