Update on Remainder of Fall Semester, Changes for Spring Academic Calendar

Posted on 10/6/2020 5:08:41 PM

Thank you for all that you are continuing to do to keep our campus safe and healthy during these very challenging times.

We want to update you on several decisions designed to help you now and as you plan for the spring semester.

Fall Semester and Thanksgiving Break

First, classes for the fall semester will continue as scheduled, ending on December 7, with final exams scheduled for December 8-11. Thanksgiving recess remains set for November 23-27, with classes resuming November 30. It is up to your individual faculty members to offer you the opportunity to complete classwork scheduled after the Thanksgiving recess—and your final exams—via distance learning. These decisions will be made by your instructor, depending on course content.

IUP’s on-campus residence halls will be closed for Thanksgiving break from noon Saturday, November 21, through Friday, November 27, and will reopen at 10:00 a.m. November 28. The Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining will be in touch with all on-campus residents to set up a schedule for those returning to campus, so that social-distancing guidelines can be followed.

IUP will offer “break housing” on campus for those students requiring housing during the Thanksgiving and December breaks. You can sign up for housing through your MyIUP/Housing Portal.

There are also some things that we don’t know. We are still discussing how commencement ceremonies scheduled for December 2020 and May 2021 may take place. We also are awaiting decisions from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association about winter and spring intercollegiate sports.

Spring Semester Plans

For the spring semester, we will continue to operate according to our Fall Rebalance Plan, which is designed to reduce transmission of the virus by reducing the number of people on campus, balancing hybrid coursework and distance learning. As you register for spring classes, please make sure you understand the delivery method of your courses; your advisor or your course instructor is the best source of this information.

On-campus residence halls will be open for move-in January 16 and 17, 2021; a move-in schedule will be developed with on-campus students to accommodate social distancing.

Following our Fall Rebalance Plan, facilities remain open to you, operating within health and safety guidelines. Safety kits will be available at no cost to all IUP students for the spring semester. The kits include hand sanitizer, washable cloth face coverings, a multi-use disposable forehead thermometer, facial tissues, and other items. Students living on campus will receive their kit at their residence halls. Information about safety kit pickup for off-campus students will be shared in January 2021.

Spring Calendar Change

Classes for spring will begin January 19, 2021; the last day of classes will be May 3, 2021.
While these dates are unchanged from the published calendar, IUP will not have the traditional weeklong spring break. Instead, we will incorporate five non-class days into the spring semester to allow for several short breaks. We will announce those dates as soon as they are finalized.

For Your Health and Safety

Face coverings continue to be required for all employees, students, and visitors when in buildings and vehicles owned or leased by IUP, unless a health condition prevents you from wearing a face covering. Students who need a reasonable accommodation for the IUP face-covering policy should contact the Department for Disability Access and Advising (disability-access@iup.edu). When off campus – including at your off-campus apartment or house – you should follow community guidelines, which include face coverings and social distancing.

IUP Health Services will continue to provide most services that were available before COVID-19. In order to maintain your health and safety, walk-in visits are discouraged, but same-day appointments can be made by calling 724-357-2550. Students who have questions or who wish to make an appointment can also contact health-inquiry@iup.edu.

The Health Service’s hours are Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. IUP is following current CDC guidance and will offer testing to any student who has been a close contact of a lab-confirmed COVID-19 positive individual, even if that student is not showing any symptoms of COVID-19. (A close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who has had prolonged, unprotected close contact -- within six feet for 15 minutes or longer --with a person with a lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnosis.)

If you are contacted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health for contact tracing, it is critical that you cooperate and provide accurate information. Contact tracing and CDC-recommended precautions, including self-quarantine and self-isolation, are essential to mitigating transmission of the coronavirus.

Resources for You

If you need on-campus housing or dining at any time, please feel free to contact the Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining. We can accommodate you. Our residence halls and dining facilities are set up to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines to keep you safe and well.

We know that the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the response required are very upsetting, and many students feel anxious. We are here for you. The Counseling Center will continue to offer telehealth appointments throughout this academic year. The center’s hours will be Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No walk-ins will be accepted at this time, but students can schedule an appointment by phone at 724-357-2621 or by email at counseling-center@iup.edu. Students not able to teleconference via their own equipment can arrange to reserve a room within the center to receive the services they require. For after-hours emergencies, students should contact the 24-hour county crisis help line at 1-877-333-2470.

We will continue to communicate with you about new information, but if you have questions, the Hawks Q&A Center is available to provide answers and point you in the right direction.

The Guides program is also here to help you. Guides, who are university employee volunteers, function as support and contact points between students and resources on campus and in the community. While all new students were assigned a guide, this service is open to upperclass students, too. You can refer yourself or someone else who may need assistance to this program by emailing iup-hawks@iup.edu.

The Food Pantry and Help Center is open and available to on- and off-campus students.

We know that this semester has challenged you in new ways. Stay the course. Focus on your studies. Ask for help when you need it. And most of all, be safe, and take care of yourself and each other—which means wear a mask, practice social distancing, stay away from large gatherings, and wash your hands.

Stay well!

The IUP Fall Planning Group

P.S. If a friend or acquaintance is in distress, please reach out and share the resources we have in place to offer assistance. You can also contact a member of IUP’s Care Team, made up of faculty and staff members. This group provides appropriate support to students in distress.