Xavier plans to resume in-person instruction

2021-2022 academic calendar to include traditional breaks and an early start date

Written By: Joseph Cotton

Xavier updated next year’s academic calendar on Friday, announcing that it plans to have mostly in-person classes for the fall semester and scheduling traditional breaks into the year.

“Xavier anticipates to be back to mostly normal operations this fall,” Father Michael Graham, president, said in a message to the Xavier community. “We are simply better in-person. We proved that we could hold classes and live on campus during this academic year. Our aspiration is to return to a normal collegiate experience as quickly as possible.”

While nothing is guaranteed, the COVID-19 Task Force is closely monitoring the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health to inform their decisions. Chair of the COVID-19 Task Force Jeff Coleman noted that given the current trajectory of the pandemic, classes will likely be in-person next year.  

“Really, the main thing that’s been the unknown… is that the CDC has six-foot distancing guidelines, which impact our classrooms,” Coleman said. “However, we’re hopeful that with the way things are progressing right now, those (restrictions) will be lifted, and we can go back to the traditional classroom format.”

Newswire photo by Desmond Fischer

The university also released an updated academic calendar for next year which now includes traditional breaks in the semester and an earlier start date. 

Coleman explained that this decision was largely informed by students who were adamant about having breaks in the semester. As such, next year is anticipated to have a fall break, Thanksgiving break and spring break, as well as days off for Labor Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

 “Our goal is to be as close to normal as we can,” Coleman said. 

Two non-traditional aspects of the calendar are the expedited start date and remote finals. With the exception of specialized programs, classes will now begin on Aug. 16, and students will not return to campus for finals after Thanksgiving break, per the update. 

While the Task Force is still concerned about new strains of COVID-19 impacting this fall, they are also confident that vaccines will continue to prove effective. 

“For most (COVID-19) variants, the vaccines are still very effective. We’re close partners with TriHealth, and they’ve been amazing throughout this process, and we always run these questions past their experts,” Coleman said. “So there’s nothing out there right now that causes us (to be concerned), but you never know.”

According to the university, TriHealth will continue to administer vaccines according to Ohio’s distribution plan, which is currently in Phase Two where anyone over the age of 60 is eligible to receive a vaccine. 

Students seem relatively optimistic about the prospects of in-person instruction. 

“I’m excited and hopeful that with doing (in-person) in the fall there will be enough vaccines out and few enough cases that it wouldn’t present too much of a risk,” junior Philosophy, Politics and the Public major Mathew Dixon said. “I’m looking forward to it. I really don’t like Zoom.”

“Those breaks will be good to have. But they may need to be tweaked if cases start to rise… That’s my only concern,” he continued. 

For the full update, visit the Xavier website