On Oct. 8, the Board of Regents approved a condensed spring semester for the University of Nebraska system. The structure calls for an extended winter break followed by 15 weeks of school with no breaks.
The “Forward to Fall” plan Chancellor Ronnie Green announced on May 29 compressed the traditional fall semester into 15 weeks followed by an optional three-week session. The condensed spring semester mirrors the fall structure and will begin with an optional three-week session, followed by a 15-week spring semester.
In lieu of breaks for Labor Day, fall break and spring break, the university will have an extended winter break from Nov. 25, the last day of fall semester finals, to Jan. 25, the beginning of the spring semester.
The plan was designed to reduce the amount of travel that traditionally comes with mid-semester breaks to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“I am excited,” said senior criminal justice major Kylen Curry from Bailey, Colorado.“I think that will help to keep the COVID possibilities down. I am a little bit concerned about students having such a long Christmas break because there might be more ideas to travel then.”
The motion to approve the spring 2021 calendar was in the agenda item along with nine other items, all of which were approved at one time.
The university also announced classes for the spring semester will be offered in three methods: in person, web conferencing (conferencing platform like Zoom) and online courses (designed to move through course independently).
“I want to thank all of our academic leaders — especially our classroom instructors, academic advisors, department schedulers, and countless others — who have brought so much care and thought to all aspects of this massive endeavor that matters so much to the core of the academic mission and to the success of our students,” said Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Spiller.
Hear responses from more UNL students below:
Ben Griess, junior agriculture economics major from Grand Island, Nebraska.“I don’t really mind it because I kind of like class being compact and longer breaks in between. So, all in all, I really don’t mind it all that much.
Maggie Rittner, senior human development and family science major from Fort Collins, Colorado.“I see spring break and fall break as a mental break, not necessarily needing to get away and like having to travel, but like a week that we just don’t have work for a little bit is always really nice. But it will be nice to have an extended winter break. I mean, I guess it’s a plus to it. But yeah, I mean it is what it is. I will rock and roll with it because I can’t obviously control it.”
Josselyn Catalan Vazquez, junior global studies and ethnic studies major from Wakefield, Nebraska.“It makes me feel not excited because it’s very stressful to not have a break.”
Blake Bounds, freshman elementary education major from Denison, Texas.“Honestly at first I didn’t think the more condensed would work, but over time I actually kind of like it and it makes sense when thinking about the COVID situation and whatnot so honestly myself wouldn’t be upset about that at all. It allows us to go home earlier to see our family during Thanksgiving as opposed to after. So, I actually agree with it, yeah.”
The spring semester will begin on Jan. 25, after a three-week mini session scheduled for Jan. 4-22. The three-week mini session allows students to take online classes or apply for experiential opportunities such as internships and research projects. The last day of classes for the spring semester will be May 1 with finals week from May 3-7. The May graduation will remain scheduled on May 7 and May 8.