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NMU Announces Earlier Start to Fall Semester May 18, 2020

Northern Michigan University has adjusted its fall semester schedule. Classes will begin one week earlier than usual—Monday, Aug. 17—and the semester will end shortly before Thanksgiving on Tuesday, Nov. 24. The decision follows the university’s previously announced plan to return to face-to-face instruction.

The NMU Board of Trustees held a virtual meeting today and approved a revised schedule. President Fritz Erickson had raised the possibility of an earlier start to hopefully avoid a late fall resurgence of COVID-19. A task force headed by the Academic Senate Chair Norma Froelich and comprised of faculty and other campus representatives came up with a potential response to Erickson’s request.

“This will prevent students from traveling home for Thanksgiving week and returning to campus for the final two weeks of the semester,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson. “It’s a proactive step designed to enhance safety for our campus and community, while also continuing to fulfill the instructional time requirements for financial aid, as established by the U.S. Department of Education.”

The revised schedule breaks down as follows: classes will begin Aug. 17 and continue through Nov. 24, with the exception of Labor Day; commencement is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21; and final grades will be due from faculty on Monday, Nov. 30. There will be no designated final examination period, which typically is held the final week leading up to commencement. Instructors will have the discretion to schedule exams, as appropriate.

“On April 29, our Board made the decision to open with face-to-face, in-person instruction in August,” said Board Chair Steve Mitchell. “Starting early and ending before Thanksgiving is part of our well researched, well thought-out, comprehensive effort to protect our student body, faculty and staff. As we move forward with our plans, we will be announcing other important safety protocols as well.”

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