UMass changes fall 2020 schedule, classes set to start two weeks sooner than expected

In response to COVID-19 pandemic, classes will begin Aug. 24 and end Nov. 20

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By Chris McLaughlin, Assistant News Editor

An email from the Office of the Provost announced that the University will begin classes two weeks earlier than expected on Aug. 24 and mapped out a revised academic calendar for fall 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The email added that they “look forward to reopening campus in August.”

“Classes will start earlier than usual, on Aug. 24, conclude Nov. 20, and students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving recess,” the email read. “Final exams will be conducted remotely.”

The email noted that policies regarding on-campus housing and the mix of in-person versus remote instruction are still in the finalization process.

Classes will also be held on traditionally observed holidays in the fall including Labor Day, Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Veterans Day.

The revised schedule was adopted by the Faculty Senate Rules Committee to “establish as safe an environment as possible to manage the risks associated with COVID-19.”

The University faculty received an email announcing the schedule update before students. This email included that “Academic planning for the fall can proceed with this new schedule in place. We are pleased to be moving ahead with this vital aspect of fall planning.”

It added that “[d]etails of the revised calendar will be shared with the student body when the [U]niversity announces its complete reopening plan by June 30.”

Among the key dates listed in the academic calendar include Nov. 27-28 listed as the reading days, set just after Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 26 of this year.

Final exams will occur between Nov. 30 through Dec. 4, with finals grades being due by midnight on Dec. 14.

UMass originally set its fall 2020 first day of classes two weeks later on Sept. 8 and the last day of classes was set for Dec. 14.

Final exams would have taken place between Dec. 16-22 in the original academic calendar.

Chris McLaughlin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ChrisMcLJournal.