The message below was sent to the Bryn Mawr community on December 22, 2020.
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
As a semester like no other comes to a close, communities around the world continue to struggle to meet the challenge of increasing COVID-19 infection rates. Throughout the pandemic, every member of the Bryn Mawr community has done their part to limit exposure and contagion. Thank you for your care for one another.
As you have probably heard via news coverage, public health models are forecasting an increase in COVID-19 rates in January 2021, even though vaccines are now being distributed. Following new guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and our public health/medical advisors, Bryn Mawr and Haverford will be shifting the Spring 2021 semester back exactly two weeks so that we commence classes on Friday, February 12th; classes will now end on May 13, followed by exams until May 22. This shift will give us a better chance to continue the low transmission rates we have experienced to date and will lower risks for everyone on campus and in transit. This change also more closely aligns with Swarthmore’s spring calendar.
Our safety practices for starting the semester will remain, with staggered student arrival dates, testing, campus quarantine, and remote learning for the first two weeks of term. We continue to look at new options for COVID-19 testing and will provide a comprehensive update in January.
In response to student and faculty requests, the calendar for the semester will also include a “spring pause”: there will be no classes from Saturday, March 27 through Tuesday, March 30. There will be no travel permitted during this pause. The Dean’s Office will share details, including a newly revised academic calendar, in the coming days.
GSAS classes will begin on Friday, February 12. GSSWSR students should look for an email with further information from Dean Shapiro and students in the post-baccalaureate premedical program should look for an email with more information from Associate Dean Glenn Cummings.
We understand that this shift will require adjustments and we are committed to working with students and families to support you in adapting to these changes. We recognize that it may be a hardship for some students who have made travel plans to change their arrival plans. Those who would experience a hardship should contact their dean; Residential Life will work with the Dean's office to accommodate necessary exceptions to new move-in dates. The International Student and Scholar Services and Advising Office will work with international students to ensure that they meet visa and travel requirements.
The Dean’s Office will be in touch in early January to provide more detailed information about re-scheduling move-in, additional information about COVID-19 testing, and any revisions to health and safety protocols.
Thanks for all you do for one another. Best wishes for a safe and restful break.
President, Bryn Mawr College