Old Main

September 21, 2020

Dear North Central College Community,

I am pleased to announce the College’s plans for the upcoming spring 2021 semester. This message comes as we continue to successfully navigate an unprecedented fall. Our ability to plan for in-person instruction in the spring is due to the tireless efforts of so many on our campus, and our collective commitment to the College’s health and safety measures and the #TogetherNC pledge. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff has and will continue to guide our decision-making process throughout the remainder of the current semester and into the spring.

Below you will find key details for spring semester. Just as we did in preparing for the fall, we must continue to anticipate the ongoing complexities of the global pandemic, while delivering on the College’s educational mission. More information will be communicated as it becomes available, and we continue to post updates at covid.northcentralcollege.edu.

Spring 2021

Undergraduate Academic Calendar

The College’s plan for the spring is to replicate the fall academic calendar as closely as possible. For undergraduate students, changes to the academic calendar include a start date of January 25 (two weeks later than originally planned) and shortened spring break. Our plan includes finishing the academic year as originally scheduled with a May 9 Commencement, with final exams taking place the first week of May. The extent to which final exams will take place remotely or in-person has not yet been determined.

Key dates for undergraduate students:

  • Monday, January 25: Classes begin
  • Friday, March 12: Spring break (College offices open)
  • Friday, April 2: Good Friday; no afternoon classes (College offices close at noon)
  • Thursday, April 22: Honors Day/Rall Symposium; no classes (College offices open)
  • Friday, April 30: Last day of full semester classes
  • Monday, May 3 – Thursday, May 6: Final exams
  • Sunday, May 9: Commencement
  • Monday, May 10: May Term begins

Graduate Academic Calendar

The spring semester academic calendar for graduate students will remain unchanged, with graduate classes starting Monday, January 11, and ending Friday, April 30, with Commencement on May 9.

Key dates for graduate students:

  • Monday, January 11: Classes begin
  • Monday, January 18: MLK Holiday; no morning classes (College offices open)
  • Monday, March 15 – Friday, March 19: Spring break (College offices open)
  • Monday, March 22: Classes resume
  • Friday, April 2: Good Friday; no afternoon classes (College offices close at noon)
  • Friday, April 30: Last day of full semester classes
  • Sunday, May 9: Commencement

Class Schedule

The fall semester class schedule will remain in place for the spring, with Monday/Wednesday/Friday courses meeting for 70 minutes, and Tuesday/Thursday courses meeting for 100 minutes.

Academic Instruction

We will continue our “learn from anywhere” approach in spring 2021 by offering a range of instructional modalities and leveraging technology to create inclusive learning opportunities for all students. Our primary modality will continue to be in-person instruction, while providing students with fully online and hybrid learning options. Details on how students can indicate their study preferences under the “learn from anywhere” model for spring semester will be shared soon.

Spring course time blocks will be updated in the coming days, using the start and end times currently in place this fall. All students will be notified via their North Central email once the spring course schedule has been updated with new times and instructional modalities. Academic advisors will then help first-year students register for their spring courses and help upper-class students adjust their schedules as necessary to fit their individual needs. These efforts will allow students continued flexibility and ensure they can continue steady progress toward their degree.

Health and Safety Measures

In the fall, the College adopted a number of health and safety measures that were informed by local, state and federal health authorities. I am grateful that these measures, in addition to the College’s COVID-19 testing and contract tracing program, have enabled our community to be together this fall. We anticipate that these same measures will remain in effect throughout the spring semester so that we can continue to benefit from an in-person experience on our campus.

As a reminder, these measures include: wearing face coverings while indoors as well as outdoors when social distancing is not possible; maintaining a distance of six feet or more from others; daily self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms using the #CampusClear app; staying home or in your residence hall room when sick; restrictions on gathering in large groups; enhanced cleaning and sanitation measures; and more.

Above all, this will require that we continue, each and every day, to take responsibility for our own health and the health of our friends, classmates and colleagues by upholding our commitment to the #TogetherNC pledge.

Testing and Contact Tracing

The College’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program is a critical part of our ability to provide for a safe and healthy campus environment and to stop the spread of COVID-19 among our community. It is our intention to continue these measures throughout the spring and I thank you in advance for your continued participation in this process. 

Residence Life and Dining Services
Our plans for campus housing and dining services during spring semester will look very similar to this fall, and any updates will be communicated as more information becomes available.

Athletics and Campus Events

In August, the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) postponed fall athletics conference competition and championships. CCIW staff is in the process of developing competition opportunities for fall sports to take place in the spring. This work is ongoing and further plans will be communicated as information becomes available. The CCIW also pushed back the start of winter sport competition until after January 1, 2021. In the meantime, coaches are continuing to work with their teams to provide competitive and training opportunities on our campus.

Campus events in the spring, including Commencement, will continue to be subject to the state’s Restore Illinois plan and restrictions that may be in place at such time. It’s important to point out that it would not be until Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois plan (the state is currently in Phase 4) that larger events could take place without restrictions. Updates to campus events and meetings will be added to the Athletics & Events section of the covid.northcentralcollege.edu website.

Thank you for your continued resilience in the face of the many changes and challenges that have come your way, for your commitment to this institution, and for the care you have shown one another. I know we can keep this going—and that we can stay together—throughout the fall and into the spring semester. We will continue to communicate with you as additional plans take shape, so keep your eye on your email and at covid.northcentralcollege.edu for the latest information.


Troy D. Hammond
Professor of Physics
North Central College

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