Guided by public health experts who advise that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have an impact nationally well into the coming year, Hollins University is striving to ensure the well-being of the campus community with a comprehensive plan for conducting January Short Term (J-Term) and Spring Term in 2021.
“We are preparing now for how we will move carefully onward,” said Hollins President Mary Dana Hinton.
Students will not be returning to campus for J-Term this year and residence halls will remain closed. In-person, virtual, and/or hybrid seminars will not be offered during this year’s session, and the J-Term academic requirement for credit has been suspended for the 2020-21 academic year. Virtual internships, independent study projects, and remote theses are the only activities that will be approved for credit this J-Term.
“The time away during Winter Break (which begins December 11) and the month of January will provide a meaningful opportunity to rejuvenate from a challenging fall semester and prepare for what will be an equally demanding spring semester,” Hinton said. At the same time, she noted that the university will be organizing “a robust calendar of curricular and co-curricular events and programs to keep our students engaged and connected, academically and socially, during this longer break between terms.”
Spring Term classes, which will be taught in-person, online, or through a hybrid mix of those forms of instruction, will begin on February 10, 2021, instead of the previously announced date of February 3.
“Students who are studying remotely this fall will have the option of continuing in that mode or returning to campus for in-person or hybrid instruction,” Hinton explained. “Likewise, students living in residence halls this fall and taking in-person or hybrid courses may choose to stay at home for the spring and learn remotely.” She added that students who decide to take all of their classes remotely will not be able to live on campus during Spring Term.
Information regarding a phased return to campus for the start of Spring Term will be provided to students later this fall, while plans for COVID-19 testing of students, faculty, and staff will be announced in January. Because Spring Term is starting one week later than originally planned, Spring Recess is cancelled this year, and residential students will be encouraged to remain on campus for the duration of Spring Term once they arrive back at Hollins in early February.
Hinton praised the campus community for making the return to on-campus living and learning during Fall Term a success. “You have supported our Culture of Care philosophy and risen to the challenges of our COVID-19 protocols with tremendous spirit and dedication,” she stated in a letter to students, faculty, and staff. “I commend you for your mutual accountability and collective responsibility as we navigate our way through this crisis.”
Hinton acknowledged in her message to campus that while Hollins’ plans for J-Term and Spring Term “are probably not unexpected, I nevertheless understand how disheartening it is to anticipate disruption throughout the rest of this academic year. Despite this disappointment, you should be extremely proud of how you are taking care of yourselves and one another during this difficult time. I am confident that our profound sense of community will sustain us as we continue to make these necessary sacrifices; I know we have the character and fortitude to persevere in the weeks and months to come.”