Valparaiso University is beginning to see a beacon of normalcy return to campus this year. The class schedule for this semester looks relatively similar to what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, in the 2019-2020 school year. The schedule is no longer the shortened, condensed one from the 2020-2021 academic year.
“What we are doing this year is very in-line with what we have been doing for many years, with regard to how many weeks we are meeting, when they fall, how the breaks are scheduled and which days are for classes and which are not,” said Allison Urbancyzk, University Registrar.
That being said, the schedule for this semester differs in that the first day of classes did not take place until Aug. 25, later in the summer than recent years. Labor Day, Sept. 6, will also be a day off for Valpo this year for the first time.
There will also be two breaks throughout the semester, Fall from Oct. 14-18 and Thanksgiving from Nov. 20-28. Fall Break was taken out last year to create a condensed schedule due to COVID. Because the schedule was condensed last year, students completed their semester a couple days before Thanksgiving Break, creating a longer Winter Break.
Having all breaks taken out of the fall and spring semesters last year took its toll on students who are hopeful for a more normal experience this year.
“I believe the schedule this year will help to delay the burnout that I experienced last year,” said Junior Maggie Yavaraski. “Because we went straight through last year with no days off, I was exhausted in October.”
Last year’s schedule was unprecedented and had been made for the purpose of protecting Valpo faculty and students. An example of this was the choice to end the Fall 2020 semester before the flu season started.
“Last year was more of a response to an emergency, and we made some changes that we have never been asked to make before simply because we wanted to ensure the safety of our faculty, students and staff,” Urbanczyk said.
Students express that the breaks that have been implemented this semester will also be very helpful for students by making the school year seem as if things are returning to normalcy once again.
“I am really excited that our schedule is back to normal and I think breaks are good for everyone,” said Junior Ky Perrone.
Many factors influence how the calendar for each school year is made, determining when breaks are held.
“There are a lot of guidelines that go through the committees on campus that tell the office of the registrar exactly how to layout the calendar each year, so all the guidelines were used to put it together,” said Urbanczyk.
Other changes to the schedule include finals week which doesn’t fall until the week of Dec. 13-19, a later end to the semester than in previous years. As a result of the later start to Winter Break, the semester starts up again on Jan. 12. The two week Spring Break will also be brought back for the spring semester.