Western Illinois University recently made updates to the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar in preparation for the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press release posted last week, the University said, “Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Western Illinois University will end its Spring 2021 semester one week earlier than originally planned. The Spring 2021 semester will begin Tuesday, Jan. 19. Classes will continue without break through Friday, April 30, with finals week scheduled for Monday-Friday, May 3-7. Commencement weekend will remain May 14-16 (a decision will be forthcoming regarding the Spring 2021 commencement).”
For students, this means there will be no spring break, but classes will not be extended an additional week, they will end a week earlier than originally planned. While the aforementioned press release stated that there has not been a decision made regarding the Spring 2021 Commencement ceremony, but the ceremony for the Fall 2020 semester will be live streamed via Facebook and YouTube. When asked his thoughts on the lack of spring break this year, sophomore student Jonathon Lewellyn said, “When I first heard that we were not going to have a spring break this year, I was not as phased as many of my peers were. After thinking about it more, though, I got to thinking about how it is going to be weird to not have the opportunity to go home and spend time with friends and family. The benefit to this is that we will get out of school earlier.”
Another student, first year graduate student Kyle Ramlow, said, “Students really need some sort of break. This is necessary time for them to relax and unwind, giving them the opportunity to recharge and finish the semester strong. I am fairly worried for the mental health of our student body and I hope that Western does something to help with this situation.”
In terms of the way classes will run next semester, Western Illinois University said, “Much like the Fall 2020 semester, Western will have classes available on campus during the spring semester, as well as classes available in hybrid or online format. Health and safety protocols and procedures are expected to remain in place, including social gathering restrictions, mandatory face coverings on campus (inside and outside), social distancing, enhanced cleaning, barrier shields and more. University protocols apply to both Macomb and Quad Cities campuses.” This is subject to change in the event that there are developments in curing COVID-19, but as for now the regulations will carry into the Spring semester.