St. Olaf College | COVID-19

June 10, 2020 at 5:15 p.m.

To St. Olaf College studentsFrom David R. Anderson, President Of The College

Dear Oles,

I am excited to share the good news that we have confirmed the plan for the opening of the 2020-21 academic year on campus and in person. It is the “Open Early, End Early” model. That means that the Fall semester will begin three weeks earlier than originally scheduled, and it will end by Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving Break will now be an extended holiday break beginning on Wednesday, November 25 and lasting through December 2020. There will be no Fall Break.

Our top priority will be to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible when we re-open the campus and live out our new reality. This means that we will be developing protocols regarding how we will conduct ourselves this fall: think face masks, physical distancing, hand sanitation, traffic patterns, and so forth. Students, faculty, and staff will all be asked to affirm that they will conform to these protocols before returning to campus, and we will insist upon them being followed when classes resume. Looking out for one another, and prioritizing the welfare of our community, is what Oles do. We will all be called upon to live out those values this fall.

Here are the key dates:

Summer Session 2
Summer Session 2 courses will now end two days earlier than originally scheduled to accommodate an earlier start to the Fall 2020 semester. Summer Session 2 will begin on Monday, July 13 and now end on Friday, August 14.

Move-In: Begins Saturday, August 15

New Student Orientation: Saturday–Wednesday, August 15-19

Classes Begin: Thursday, August 20

Classes WILL be held on Labor Day: Monday, September 7

Last Day of Classes: Tuesday, November 17

Reading Day: Wednesday, November 18

Finals: Thursday–Saturday, November 19-21, and Monday–Tuesday, November 23-24

Extended Holiday Break: Wednesday, November 25 through Sunday, January 3

Interim 2021 Begins: Monday, January 4. We are still pondering how best to treat Interim, and we may need to adjust our plans for a January 4 start. Much depends upon the status of the virus and progress toward an effective therapeutic response and upon our ability to have the rich array of off-campus study programs that characterize our Interim.

You will be getting much more information about the plan for the fall in the coming weeks, but I wanted you to have this information about the plan right away.

By this time early next week, we will launch a website that will contain all of this information along with answers to frequently asked questions. It will contain as well a link you can use to pose questions as they arise, and more information will be added to the FAQs on the site in response to those questions.

The uncertainties of the present time mean that we will in some sense be inventing our academic year as we go along. There will be slips and hiccups, and we will need to be resilient and adaptable as we go along. But the good news is that, barring unforeseen events, we will be back on campus with each other. I look forward to seeing you.

Warm Regards,