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How Tampa Bay Area Private Colleges Plan To Handle Thanksgiving, Spring Semester

University of Tampa minarets in front of Hillsborough River
Tom Iacobucci/WUSF
The University of Tampa is among the private universities and colleges in the greater Tampa Bay region altering plans for the Thanksgiving holiday and spring semester because of the pandemic.

Here are the Thanksgiving and spring semester plans of private universities and colleges around the Tampa Bay region.

The coronavirus forced universities and colleges around Florida to adjust their schedules and how they offered classes during the fall semester.

Now, as they approach the spring semester, more adjustments are being made to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff.

Here’s how the coronavirus is impacting the academic calendars of private universities and colleges in the greater Tampa Bay region for the rest of the 2020-21 school year:

University of Tampa: University officials say Thanksgiving break will be held as scheduled from Nov. 25-29. The fall semester will end with virtual commencement on Dec. 5. The spring semester begins on Jan. 19, 2021. Rather than a full spring break week later in the semester, there will be non-instructional “reading days" each month in hopes of negating the threat of virus transmission. Classes will continue to be offered primarily in-person, but remote classes will also continue.

Eckerd College, St. Petersburg: The last two weeks of classes after Thanksgiving break will be held in person, according to Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Suzan Harrison. The use of outdoor classes, which allowed for Eckerd students to socially distance while learning, will continue into the spring semester as well. The spring semester will start a week later and end the same date as planned originally, with spring break being canceled for 2021.

Florida Southern College, Lakeland: According to officials, students will be allowed to choose from a mix of face-to-face, hybrid, and remote classes. The Board of Trustees has approved the return of all students for the spring semester who choose to live in campus housing. Students returning to Florida Southern in the spring will have to submit a negative COVID-19 test result in order to be allowed on campus. Spring break week has been canceled, and classes will end on May 7, 2021. Spring semester finals will be May 10-12.

Florida College, Temple Terrace: The 2020-2021 academic calendar shows Thanksgiving break from Nov. 25-30. After the break, there will be four days of online instruction for the students. Final exams will be conducted online during the week of Dec.7. There has been no updates on any changes to Florida College’s spring academic calendar or the way classes will be held. During the fall semester, in-person classes are being offered with required face coverings and social distancing measures.

Southeastern University, Lakeland: University officials have decided that during the week of Thanksgiving, all classes and final exams will be delivered remotely. This will allow students to return home safely and celebrate the holidays with their families without concern of spreading the virus at school. Fall commencement ceremony will be held in person on Nov. 22, before the end of the semester. Residence halls and dining will remain open after Thanksgiving break until the end of the fall semester, Dec. 10. There have not been any changes to Southeastern’s spring academic calendar.

Saint Leo University, St. Leo: According to officials at the university, the last two weeks of the fall semester, Nov. 30 - Dec. 11, will be completed online. Students are welcome to return to campus after the break to complete the semester or finish from their homes. Final exams will be administered during the week ending Dec. 11. During Saint Leo’s spring semester, all in-person courses will continue to be offered in the same way as the fall — rotating groups of in-person and online attendance, hybrid, and online-only. Spring break will be changed from March 8-12 to April 12-16. This will allow students to have the option to move out of their residence halls before spring break.

Trinity College of Florida, Trinity: Students will not be allowed back on campus after Thanksgiving break, according to Brand Ambassador John Keller. The remaining weeks of the fall semester school will be held online. The spring 2021 semester will start a week later, and spring break is canceled. Trinity College students are not required to be on campus for class, but masks are mandatory if they are physically present at school.

Courtney Holland is the WUSF radio news intern for the fall of 2020.
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