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Eastern Michigan University extends winter break to prevent COVID-19 spread

Winter commencement will now take place virtually

Eastern Michigan University.
Eastern Michigan University. (Credit: Eastern Michigan University)

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University has announced two revisions to its academic calendar for the Winter 2021 semester to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

According to a news release, the public health crisis has prompted two modifications:

  • The first day of class meetings will occur one week later than originally planned, on January 13. This move extends the winter break between semesters, which begins on Dec. 24.
  • There will be no winter break in 2021; the University will hold classes that week.

The EMU Board of Regents approved the changes at its regular meeting on Oct. 22.

After reviewing the latest data, school authorities have determined it is safer to keep community members in the area than to have them travel to different locations, which could see an increase in COVID-19 cases.

While the semester was originally set to end on April 27, 2021, with the changes the new final day of classes will be on April 20.

Commencement is tentatively set for April 25.

“The changes to the winter calendar mirror the robust and ongoing efforts to safeguard the health, safety and well-being of EMU students, faculty and staff that are in place this fall semester, which so far have resulted in a relatively low number of positive cases,” read a news release.

EMU has already taken measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus, including delaying student move-in to dorms and increasing the number of online classes this fall.

“It’s very important that we continue to take the necessary steps that have enabled us to limit the spread of COVID-19 on our campus,” President James Smith said in a statement.

“Remaining home for another week during the holiday break and not holding winter break are unprecedented but crucial steps in our ongoing efforts to preserve the health, safety and well-being of our EMU community while still ensuring the best possible academic experience for our students.”

Other measures taken by EMU include the mandatory wearing of face coverings on campus, both inside buildings and outdoors, expanded COVID-19 testing for students and staff, COVID PASS daily health screenings for community members on campus, extensive instructive and directional signage throughout campus and check-in stations at campus buildings.

Nearby in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan issued an emergency two-week stay-in-place order for all undergraduate students due to a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. Although students were attending some in-person classes and labs, president Mark Schlissel said that the majority of cases were linked to social gatherings.

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