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Northeast to begin fall semester early to end by Thanksgiving

Northeast to begin fall semester early to end by Thanksgiving

NORFOLK, Neb. – Northeast Community College will begin the Fall 2020 semester a week early in order to end instruction by Thanksgiving. Classes will now begin on Monday, August 17, and conclude on Wednesday, November 25.

Many colleges and universities around the country, including others in Nebraska, have decided to start earlier in the fall and wrap up their semester by Thanksgiving. The adjusted schedule is designed to reduce the risk of any health hazards associated with COVID-19 due to travel.

Dr. Michele Gill, interim vice president of educational services, said the change in the start and end of the semester is designed to ensure the delivery of a quality educational experience for Northeast students.

“These changes are being implemented for everyone’s safety as we deal with challenges of COVID-19.  Change is not easy as it often asks us to pivot quickly, but we know that our faculty all are up to the task,” Gill said. “I would like to thank every one of our instructors for their willingness to design their courses with adaptation in mind for the coming term.” 

Instructors will work with their colleagues and academic deans to develop the appropriate social distancing and classroom safety protocols when close contact is required due to the nature of the skill being taught. Gill said changes in delivery of instruction will include moving from many traditional face-to-face classes to more online and synchronous online (virtual) classes, as well as reduced numbers of students and social distancing protocols in limited face-to-face classes. 

“If a cohort of students is exposed to COVID-19 and require quarantine to suppress the spread, the adjustment in the schedule allows time between Thanksgiving and the winter holidays to complete the term,” Gill said.

The new beginning date, which is one week earlier than originally scheduled, is designed to help minimize any spread of COVID-19 during the peak flu season, said President Dr. Leah Barrett.

“We need to be proactive and take steps that are necessary should there be a second wave of the virus, which some health experts predict could occur this fall,” Barrett said. “This is one of many ways we can reduce the risk to our faculty, staff and students. By ending at Thanksgiving, students won’t come back en masse for finals, which could help curtail any potential spread of the virus.” 

In order for the longer break after Thanksgiving, Northeast Community College students will have classes on Labor Day on Monday, September 7, and Fall Break on Monday, October 19, will be cancelled.