Friday, October 23, 2020; 9:20 a.m.
Academic Calendar Changes, Fall Commencement, Spring Semester
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
We have made some additional changes to the fall academic calendar, as well as some decisions about fall commencement and the upcoming spring semester, and we wanted to share those with you as soon as possible. (These changes do not apply to students in the Paul M. Hebert Law Center and the School of Veterinary Medicine, who operate on separate academic calendars.)
Last day to drop: Because it has been such an unusual semester, with so many class cancellations and make-up days, we are moving the last day to drop a class from Monday, Nov. 9, to Friday, Dec. 4. This will give students additional time to determine if dropping a class and receiving a grade of “W” is in their best interest. Dec. 4 will also be the last day to resign from the university.
Fall Commencement: Public health experts have advised us not to hold an in-person graduation ceremony this fall, especially since we are moving all classes remote after Thanksgiving to avoid bringing students back to campus after they have gone home and/or traveled to other areas. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision that the Dec. 18 commencement ceremony will be virtual. However, we will offer graduates access to “pop-up” commencement photography studios around campus during November so they can have professional photos taken in their commencement regalia. Details on the virtual ceremony and the pop-up photo studios will be shared with graduates in the coming days. We will also hold an in-person commencement ceremony for all LSU 2020 graduates (May, August and December) as soon as it is safe to do so, and it is our goal to hold that event in spring 2021. We want to celebrate with all our 2020 graduates in person, and we pledge to make the event a special day for graduates and their families.
Safety Procedures: The spring semester will look very similar to this fall. Classes will be a combination of in-person classes, online classes, and a hybrid of both. Residential Life and Dining procedures will look largely the same, but we hope to ease some restrictions on events and student gatherings to provide a more traditional student experience wherever possible. We understand that the pandemic and all the new procedures it brought with it have not been convenient, but our mitigation efforts helped us maintain on-campus operations this fall and helped keep our number of COVID-19 cases relatively low. While even one case is too many, we believe that the precautions we have taken have been why less than 1% of the LSU community has had COVID-19 at any given time. Therefore, we must continue with our basic safety practices that have been, so far, predominantly successful. Your safety is of the highest priority to us.
Academic Calendar/Holiday Changes: In the interest of everyone’s safety, we want to avoid long holiday breaks during which people travel and then potentially bring the virus back to campus. So we are adjusting the spring 2021 holiday schedule. Holidays will be as follows:
- Monday, Jan. 18 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Tuesday, Feb. 16 – Mardi Gras
- Friday, March 12 – Mid-Semester Break
- Thursday, March 25 – March Break
- Friday, April 2 – Good Friday
The traditional longer Mardi Gras break and spring break have been removed, but extra holidays have been added in March, and classes will now end a week sooner, with final exams and commencement occurring one week earlier.
The last day of class for the spring semester will be moved from May 1 to April 24. Finals will now be held April 26-May 1 and graduation will be May 7-8. All other aspects of the spring academic calendar remain unchanged, and the spring semester will begin on Monday, Jan. 11, as planned. View the academic calendar: https://lsu.edu/registrar/academics/academic-calendar.php.
Course Scheduling: Scheduling for the spring semester and the summer term will also be held as planned, and the schedule booklets for both are now available online: https://lsu.edu/registrar/academics/schedule-booklet.php. The booklets contain information about how each class is going to be held (in-person or virtual). While all activities for the spring and summer are subject to change based on the status of the pandemic, we will do our best to maintain our current plans with as few changes as possible. It is our sincere hope that any changes that need to be made will be to ease restrictions, not tighten them, but we must wait and see what happens with the pandemic in Louisiana and in our region. We will continue to follow CDC guidelines, and will continue to operate with guidance from the state.
We thank all of you for your patience and cooperation throughout 2020, and we have high hopes that 2021 will be a better, safer year for all of us. As always, we will continue to get through this together. We hope the remainder of the fall semester brings you good health and academic success.
LSU Interim President & Professor of Law
LSU Executive Vice President & Provost