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Baylor University shortens fall semester, cuts holidays

The changes were made in an effort to maximize in-person instruction before the Thanksgiving break and minimize student travel.

WACO, Texas — Baylor University is shortening its fall semester and cutting holidays in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus among students and staff.

Classes are set to begin August 24 and complete the majority of class instruction on-campus before the Thanksgiving holiday. To maximize in-person instruction and minimize student travel, there will be no break on Labor Day, the fall break will be eliminated, and the Thanksgiving holiday will be shortened, according to a letter from President Linda Livingstone. Final exams will be conducted online in early December. 

Specifically, classes will be offered in-person up to the Thanksgiving break, which lasts from November 26-29. After the break, instruction and exams will continue online through the end of the semester into early December.

"During the course of our assessment of options for the fall semester, we have sought to make decisions that are right for Baylor University and our students, faculty, and staff—not simply to follow the example of other institutions," President Livingstone said. "Every college and university across the United States must make its own decisions regarding what is appropriate and feasible in creating the best learning environment possible within reasonable health and safety protocols related to COVID-19."

As a result of less days on campus, the university will reduce the costs of housing, dining and parking on a prorated basis, according to the letter. 

Baylor Law School will not be affected by the changes as it operates on the quarter system.

In the letter Livingstone also announced the cancellation of fall commencement ceremonies scheduled for December 19, but invited graduates to participate in spring commencement ceremonies in May 2021. 

This comes after the university reported it will require face coverings be worn in buildings on campus and several students testing positive for the virus. 

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