In a letter Friday to students, faculty and staff, Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron said the university would instead have two instructional breaks with no classes on February 9 and March 31.
“This approach will keep our community together throughout the semester and reduce travel-related exposures,” McPheron explained.
“Definitely not the best news to hear, but I think it’s the smarter decision,” he said, adding, “It allows kids to just stay in their dorms or in their off-campus housing and just stay safe.”
OSU is just weeks into the fall semester after beginning a mix of in-person and online classes on August 25, but McPheron said he wanted to shed light on the upcoming spring semester so students, faculty and staff could plan ahead.
OSU plans to stick with a blend of in-person and online classes next semester, but the first week of classes beginning January 11 will be held online to allow people “ample time to quarantine prior to any in-person sessions.”
“While there were many adjustments to our plans over the summer, we hope that our experience this semester will allow for a smoother and more predictable plan heading into spring semester,” McPheron wrote.
OSU will continue to explore how to expand in-person activities in the spring, but those decisions will be dependent on the status of Covid-19 in the community, McPheron’s message said.
“As a default,” he added, “all students, faculty and staff should expect the same sort of comprehensive approach that is in place this fall — including testing, contact tracing and personal behaviors such as face masks, physical distancing and hand-washing.”
CNN’s Kate Trafecante contributed to this report.