College announces spring 2021 semester schedule, plans modified breaks

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The Brafferton School on Ancient Campus. COURTESY PHOTO / WM.EDU

The College of William and Mary announced its plans for the 2021 spring semester Oct. 22. According to an email sent to students, staff and faculty, the semester’s academic calendar will not be compressed, and will retain its original start and end dates of Jan. 27 and May 7, with six spring break days scattered throughout the term. Like the fall semester, classes will be delivered in remote, hybrid and in-person options.

College Provost Peggy Agouris emphasized the College’s commitment to health and learning and ensured consistent communication throughout the semester.

“As we plan for our spring semester, our overarching goals remain steadfast: to prioritize the health and well-being of the community; to keep teaching, learning and pursuing research; and to continue adapting our living, learning and working environments so as to mitigate the spread of the virus,” Agouris said in an email. “I am enormously grateful for the W&M community’s commitment to these three goals over the past eight months – and we must remain vigilant.”

“It is clear, given the continuing trajectory of the pandemic, that spring break will have to be different this academic yeaR.”

After students expressed concerns over the lack of a break during the fall semester, the College’s allocation of spring break days marks a shift in the university’s strategy to combat any potential spread of COVID-19 on campus. The six days are not consecutive, instead occurring sporadically over February, March and April. This format is intended to prevent student travel.

“It is clear, given the continuing trajectory of the pandemic, that spring break will have to be different this academic year,” Agouris said. “We continue to place first priority on the health of our community. That includes mental health and wellness, and we acknowledge the need for the entire university to have downtime.”

Agouris emphasized that the days are to be used for rest or recreational activities — classes will not meet and no exams or assignments will be scheduled for these days. Details about arrival and testing requirements will be announced before Nov. 16, when fall semester exams are scheduled to begin.