Colleen Hammond | News Editor
After a semester full of uncertainties, there are even more changes in the horizon for the Duquesne community.
On Monday, Duquesne University administration announced new adjustments to the Spring 2021 semester schedule. This comes less than a week after an incorrect schedule was posted to the university website by mistake last Wednesday, an error that caused confusion and speculation among students and faculty.
While the semester was initially supposed to begin on Jan. 7, 2021, the new start date has been pushed back to January 21.
“In moving the date forward, the university seeks to ensure that students have time to spend with family and friends over the holiday break and then are able to quarantine at home as a safety measure prior to arriving at Duquesne,” said the unsigned announcement sent to students.
However, the announcement did not specify if students will be required to complete a standard 14-day quarantine before returning to campus or how they will enforce such a policy, should one be instituted.
In addition, the university has chosen to eliminate spring break for the coming semester “in order to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus due to travel typically associated with breaks,” said the statement.
“The measures described above are being taken to optimize safety and ensure the ability for students to make academic progress despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the statement.
The university’s new selling point on this plan, which was not mentioned in the early draft posted by mistake, mentioned new “Virtual J-terms.” These online, crash style, non-credit courses will be available from Jan. 7-20 for Duquesne students and their families free of charge.
“The Virtual J-Term lets us reward students for the hard work they did to keep the campus safe during the fall semester,” said Provost David Dausey. “Having the opportunity to take a quick course on a subject that seems interesting can help get students ready for their return and enrich their overall experience.”
The “J-term” course subjects vary greatly from “Harry Potter and the Christian Intellectual Tradition” to “Female Artists in Rome: Lavinia Fontana, Artemisia Gentileschi, Angelika Kaufmann, Harriet Hosmer and Edmonia Lewis.” Fourteen courses are currently slated to be offered as part of the new virtual J-term.
Students who live on campus will begin their move-in just as the J-term is concluding on Sunday, Jan. 17. More information on new move-in schedules and protocols will become available in the coming weeks.