ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — To reduce potential COVID-19 infections, the university is recommending that the school begin the fall semester on Aug. 24, one week earlier than scheduled.

A proposal to adjust the university’s academic calendar has been added to Friday’s Faculty Senate agenda.

The proposal also calls for canceling the fall midterm break, scheduled for Oct. 12 and 13, and ending in-person instruction on Nov. 24. Courses would resume online on Nov. 30, and the semester’s exam schedule would end on Dec. 9.

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The motion on Friday’s agenda includes a one-paragraph rationale for the change:

Many colleges have already amended their schedules to remove breaks and end in-person instruction before Thanksgiving.  Limiting breaks limits the travel of students, faculty and staff for fall break and Thanksgiving and bringing potential infection of COVID-19 back to campus.  It has quickly become a best practice in the region, and it will be part of our multi-faceted plan to conduct the Fall semester keeping the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff at the forefront.  We request that the Faculty Senate take up this matter as a whole at this meeting since the President needs to inform the community of our plans for the Fall semester next week.

A second motion on the agenda calls for the scheduling of classes during the 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday/Thursday time slot. The slot normally is kept open for meetings and other activities. The rationale that follows the motion on the agenda is:

It is extremely likely that the Hickey Dining Hall and other dining facilities on campus will have to severely limit their capacities during the fall 2020 semester due to social distancing.  This issue will become acute during lunch times where there are no or few courses being offered.  Having classes during the common time would smooth out the usage of the dining facilities so students would have a better chance of being served.  In addition, with social distancing most likely required in courses, we will want to spread courses more fully over the day to eliminate overcrowding in the academic buildings.

Although St. Bonaventure and other universities are making plans for in-person classes in the fall, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said “more information and facts” are needed before a decision can be made about the upcoming school year.

"To say today, as we sit here in June, what is going to happen in September, nobody can tell you,” Cuomo said Wednesday during his daily coronavirus briefing. “Nobody can answer that question. And think where we are today to September, and think of the period in time backwards. All this transpired, that whole mountain, that’s a hundred days. That’s all that is, a hundred days. Three months, the whole world changed. So September, let’s get some more information and facts, and then we’ll decide."

For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit  TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.

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