Together Safely: Academics

Last updated: Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Our faculty and staff are working hard to map out a spring semester that builds on all we learned in the fall regarding on-campus instruction. Our review has already led to ideas that will lower stress for the spring 2021 semester including the introduction of four break days, one in each module.

As in fall 2020, the academic calendar for spring has been modified to prioritize the health and wellness of students and faculty, and limit the number of regular contacts within the campus community, while still maintaining regular, face-to-face teaching and learning. The spring 2021 semester will be split into two modules: Module C and Module D.

Students will receive instructions via email from the Registrar’s Office letting them know how and when to register for classes. For up-to-date course schedules, visit the Registrar's Office page. If you have any questions or need help with scheduling or registration please email .

Adjusted Academic Calendar

What will the spring schedule be?

As with the fall semester, the spring semester will operate as two seven-week modules. The Spring 2021 semester will begin on Monday, January 25, 2021. The last day of classes in the spring will be Friday, April 30, 2021, and final exams will be held from May 3-5, 2021. Students will take two classes per module, totaling four classes for the spring semester. 

How will classes be conducted with safety as a priority?

All teaching spaces have been reorganized to adhere to social distancing recommendations. Seating for students will be at least six feet apart, and faculty members will be spaced at least six feet from students. Where necessary, classrooms have transparent safety barriers installed between the lecturer and the students. Faculty members and students will be expected to wear masks in all indoor spaces, and wherever there is less than six feet between people, even outdoors.

Most classes being offered in the spring will be taught in person, although many will have both in-person and online elements. A few will be offered only online. We are offering courses in these various formats to ensure that classes can be delivered safely for both students and faculty members and to allow for students to be spaced six feet apart in all classrooms.

Additional safety precautions are in place, including readily accessible hand sanitizer stations, sanitization kits, educational signage and reminders, push-button door operators, foot door openers, designated foot traffic routes and paper towel dispensers in all restrooms. The College has increased staffing for custodial services, which will allow classrooms to be cleaned frequently based on recommended best practices. There are posted reminders throughout campus that highlight cleaning and safety protocols. The exterior doors of most academic buildings will be replaced with automatic entrances.

The classroom schedule has been arranged so that there are no back-to-back classes except learning communities where students do not change classes. Further, the classroom buildings have been designated by class blocks to maximize the number of times they can be cleaned in between classes.

How do flexible classes work?

In flexible classes, only half of the students attend in person each session. Faculty teaching flexible classes will be in contact with students participating in these classes prior to the start of the semester to provide instructions about attendance on the first day of classes. In flexible classes, students will alternate between participating in person and participating by teleconference. Please pay careful attention to your schedule in these classes, as physical distancing will not allow the entire class to be present in person at the same time.

What if students planned to study abroad in spring 2021?

Albion College study abroad activities for spring 2021 have been canceled. Students who wish to defer their spring 2021 Albion approval to study abroad may do so without submitting a new Albion application. Contact for assistance.

Can students remain off-campus and take classes exclusively online?

Students who wish to remain off-campus for spring 2021 and take classes exclusively online are required to meet one of the following conditions:

  • They have a documented medical disability that puts them at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19 or a documented condition carrying higher risk of serious psychiatric or emotional disability caused by living on campus during the pandemic, and they receive an online-only residency exemption as an accommodation. Students petitioning for a disability exemption must provide documentation of their medical condition from a licensed health provider.
  • They were granted a Residency Exemption Petition or Non-College Owned Housing Petition for fall 2020. 
  • They are an international student unable to return to the United States due to travel restrictions

Can students participate in off-campus experiences during the academic year 2020-21?

This academic year, many off-campus environments will not be conducive to our public health approach for ensuring the health and safety of our community. For this reason, it is inconsistent with our 2020-21 safety plan for students to be housed on campus or to participate in on-campus activities if they are engaged in student teaching, internships, practicums, or other off-campus programs with a few rare exceptions. We have asked academic and non-academic program directors to refrain from placing students in off-campus experiences near Albion in 2020-21 unless they are necessary for the completion of the student’s degree or are a requirement for graduate or professional school admissions and cannot be postponed until next year.

For students who must participate in off-campus experiences in the U.S. in order to complete degree requirements this year, the following will be true:

  • We will waive the student’s residency requirement.
  • These students must live off campus and are encouraged to live close to their workplace.
  • These students will be responsible for securing their own housing.
  • These students will not be permitted to participate in in-person, on-campus activities because they will not be residing on campus. Students will have access to virtual on-campus activities should they choose to participate.

Can dual-enrolled students take in-person courses?

Unless a dual-enrolled student's non-Albion College classes are taught completely online, dual-enrolled students will be interacting with another school population outside of our testing regime. Like student teachers, therefore, they should not take in-person courses at Albion. They may enroll for online classes this year.

What will happen in the event of a surge of COVID-19 cases?

It is important to remember that during the spring semester, we will continue to be in an environment where things could change quickly on campus due to new local, state or federal orders and requirements that may be put in place due to COVID-19, and our community must be prepared to adjust accordingly. While spring classes are scheduled to be taught in-person, the College recognizes that a new COVID-19 outbreak could force a return to online instruction at any time. Our plan for spring 2021 is designed to allow for flexibility and will enable us to adjust rapidly if local, regional or national conditions change.