Southwestern University Interim President Dale Knobel announced its plans for the fall 2020 semester in a May 28 news release.
The university will begin the semester Aug. 24 as previously scheduled with in-person instruction running through Thanksgiving, the release said.
In-person classes and residence halls will close at the start of the Thanksgiving break, after which students will participate in distance study and learning sessions for the remainder of the semester, taking their final exams remotely the week of Dec. 7, it said.
"Based on research and advice from medical and public health experts, all indications are that the threat posed by COVID-19 may peak for a second time in Central Texas sometime in late fall," the release said. "The university hopes to avoid infections of students, faculty and staff by beginning on time and dismissing classes before Thanksgiving."
The revised fall schedule also eliminates the Labor Day holiday and fall break in an attempt to reduce the risk of virus exposure by curbing student travel to and from campus, the release said.
This approach also maximizes students’ time on campus and in the classroom as the university operates under the condensed schedule, the release said.
“Keeping our fall start date gives us a marker to ensure we can now get into the details of getting ready for our campus to reopen,” Knobel said in the release. “There are still many decisions that need to be made, including course offerings, food services, residential hall living, classroom accommodations and required health protocols and monitoring, but I am certain we will continue to make decisions in a way that protects our students, faculty and staff.”