By SUSAN JONES
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher hinted last week and Provost Ann Cudd confirmed in an interview this week that the University will continue to use the Flex@Pitt operating model in the spring semester.
“I think that the overall framework giving ourselves all this flexibility will certainly be fine-tuned, hopefully improved, based on what we've learned, but I don't think we're looking at a wholesale change of the framework until there's a significant change in the status of the pandemic,” Gallagher said.
“This is kind of the experimental semester,” Cudd said. “Next semester, we'll still be in Flex@Pitt, and I think that faculty will feel a lot more confidence about the decisions that they make with regard to teaching in the classroom or out of the classroom, in person or not in the various risk categories.”
In addition, both of Pitt’s top administrators said the University is looking at compressing the academic calendar for the spring, which could mean a later start date and the elimination of spring break.
Gallagher said there will likely be “compression of the schedule again, so we don't have vacations where we have to leave and then come back to campus. The planning context for the spring is that the virus is still with us.”
Cudd said the changes to the calendar are now with the provost’s Academic Calendar Committee and she expects an announcement soon on any changes. “We want to be timely in that way for faculty and students to plan,” she said.
Carnegie Mellon University announced two weeks ago that it was delaying the spring semester start until Feb. 1, condensing the semester to 14 weeks with a shortened exam period, and replacing spring break week with two spring break days. Like Pitt, CMU was originally planning to start the semester on Jan. 11.
One of the reasons CMU cited for delaying the start of the semester was to reduce time on campus during flu season. Several other universities, including Ohio State, Kansas State and Purdue, have already decided to eliminate spring break or reduce it to a couple of midweek days.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 412-648-4294.
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