February 3, 2021
To: University Community
From: Steve Wuhs, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Donna Eddleman, University Dean of Student Affairs
Subject: May Term in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)
We have delayed our decision-making about May Term until this point in order to maximize progress toward vaccination and improved public health. While there is, we believe, light at the end of this very long tunnel, COVID infection rates remain high and vaccination rates remain low. These factors, with all their uncertainty, underpin the decision to cancel May Term travel courses this year and to move May Term courses online.
The decision about travel courses is shaped by COVID guidelines and restrictions that would interfere significantly with course execution, the delay of the COVID vaccine rollout, and the decisions being made by other institutions and leaders in international education (many of which did not even offer 2021 as an option to their students).
The decision about on-campus May Term is shaped by those same factors, as well as the additional and ongoing challenge of on-campus life during the pandemic. While thus far this semester’s residential experience has been successful, anticipated low demand for May Term housing, paired with the associated low demand for on-campus dining make offering in-person or hybrid May Term courses untenable for the University. Students residing on campus will move out on Wednesday, April 28, with additional information regarding the availability and processes of summer housing forthcoming from Residence Life and Housing.
Faculty who are planning to teach in May 2021 will do so online, and will capitalize on their growing expertise with online pedagogies to engage students with novel and challenging content, just as they have for the past year. The CAS Dean’s Office will communicate in the coming weeks an updated list of courses available for students this May, and CAS Study Away is following up separately with students who were enrolled in May Term travel courses about their options.
We are all disappointed that this is our best option, but we also recognize that fairness to students and faculty alike requires thoughtful planning and timely decisions.