Update on Spring Academic Calendar from the IUP COVID-19 Response Committee

Posted on 11/10/2020 9:03:38 AM

Thank you for all you are doing to keep our campus safe and healthy during these challenging times. We hope you took time Friday during Self-Care Day to address your well-being.

A reminder: If you are leaving campus for the Thanksgiving break, in the 14 days before you leave, please try to limit your close contacts to reduce your risk of contracting the coronavirus and spreading it to others. You can continue to participate in on-campus activities, but please be very vigilant in following health and safety guidelines.

Fall Semester and Thanksgiving Break

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. If your faculty members would like to, they have the option of allowing you to complete classwork after the break—and your final exams—via distance learning.

If you are returning to campus after traveling during the Thanksgiving break, please continue to be vigilant about limiting close contacts and following all health and safety requirements.

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

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

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.

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 seven non-class days into the semester to allow for several short breaks. These non-class days are:

  • Thursday, February 25
  • Friday, February 26
  • Saturday, March 13
  • Sunday, March 14
  • Monday, April 5
  • Tuesday, April 6
  • Wednesday, April 21

Residence halls will be open for move-in January 16 and 17, 2021. A move-in schedule will be developed to accommodate social distancing.

Following our Fall Rebalance Plan, facilities remain open to you, operating within health and safety guidelines.

Free Safety kits will be available to all IUP students. 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.

There are some things that we don’t know yet. We are awaiting decisions from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association about winter and spring intercollegiate sports. While information about December 2020 commencement ceremonies has been announced, we have not yet made decisions about how May 2021 commencement ceremonies will be conducted.

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 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. 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 from 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 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. Our residence halls and dining facilities are set up to follow 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. The center’s hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No walk-ins will be accepted, but students can schedule an appointment 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 in the center to receive services. 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. Visit the web page for more information on how to access this service.

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 COVID-19 Response Committee

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.