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Welcome Back Initiative
Academic Calendar FAQs

1. What changes are being made to the Fall academic calendar?

  • The traditional schedule will begin one week early, have one less week of instruction, eliminate Fall Break, and end by Thanksgiving. Students will have a Christmas break that increases from four weeks to seven weeks. The semester will run from August 17th through November 19th.
  • The nontraditional Fall calendar is not changing and will remain August 24th through December 13th.

2. What changes are being made to the Summer calendar?

  • Overview
    • All 15-week summer courses will end on August 16th, one week early.
    • All other summer courses that were scheduled to end on August 23rd will start and end one week earlier than originally planned.
    • Summer courses that end before August 16th remain unchanged.
  • Details (changes bolded):
    • Full-Length courses: May 11 – August 16 (ending one week early)
    • 1st 5-week session (Module 1): May 11 – June 14 (no change)
    • 2nd 5-week session (Module 2): June 15 – July 19 (no change)
    • 3rd 5-week session (Module 3): July 13August 16 (starting and ending one week earlier)
    • 1st 7-week session: May 11 – June 28 (no change)
    • 2nd 7-week session: June 29August 16 (starting and ending one week early)
    • 1st 8-week session: May 11 – July 5 (no change)
    • 2nd 8-week session: June 22August 16 (starting and ending one week early)
    • 3-week session: June 29 – July 19 (no change)
    • 10-week session: May 11 – July 19 (no change)
  • Updated dates for each course will be posted by Friday, May 22 at https://www.letu.edu/academics/course-schedules/index.html.

3. Why are these changes necessary?

  • The Welcome Back Initiative aims to prepare for a grand return to the practices of university and campus life while keeping paramount (1) the health and safety of students, staff, faculty, and the Longview community; (2) the distinctives of a LeTourneau education; (3) the engagement of every student in community; and (4) the necessary innovations of teaching, learning, and living together in a world forever changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. In so doing, we seek to bear witness to the hope of the Gospel by loving God and neighbor and responsibly stewarding the gifts of the university for the sake of the world. The change to the traditional fall 2020 calendar minimizes faculty, staff, and student travel (and immediate return) during the semester to reduce off campus exposure. It also ends the semester earlier to minimize the semester’s overlap with the typical flu season.

4. Why did the summer course schedule change?

  • In order to comply with Federal Student Aid regulations and ensure continuity in awarding financial aid, the Summer and Fall terms could not overlap each other. Therefore, the Summer term is ending a week early to accommodate the earlier Fall start date.

5. Why isn’t the nontraditional Fall term changing?

  • The nontraditional schedule requires a minimum of 15 weeks to complete three consecutive 5-week modules, so the traditional and nontraditional schedules could not be perfectly aligned. Further, some nontraditional students will have had two of their summer courses overlap by a week. By keeping the original Fall schedule for nontraditional students, we can provide a one-week break to recover from the summer changes while minimizing disruptions of their fall plans.

6. Why aren’t we starting the Fall term two weeks early?

  • Reducing the summer by two weeks would have been much more challenging to accommodate due to students’ family plans, need to work, the typical length of internship experiences, and the length of the summer term.

7. What was the general process for making this decision?

  • A team of faculty and the Provost’s Office consulted with nearly every discipline on campus, support staff, and a sampling of students. This team considered a wide range of options and iterations of the final recommendation. The team recommended the final schedule to LeTourneau University’s leadership for approval.

8. When will students be able to move in and out this Fall?

  • The first priority for Fall planning was setting the academic calendar and communicating changes as soon as possible. The Student Life team has already begun the work required to adjust the moving schedules and will communicate those changes at a later date.

9. When will new student orientation occur?

  • The first priority for Fall planning was setting the academic calendar and communicating changes as soon as possible. The Student Life team has already begun the work required to adjust the orientation schedules and will communicate those changes at a later date.

10. How will faculty and staff back-to-school activities be affected?

  • Faculty and staff expectations the week before classes begin will be adjusted appropriately to accommodate the schedule changes. It is likely that some of these activities will be significantly reduced or eliminated this year to accommodate the earlier start date and COVID changes. More details will be communicated to faculty and staff at a later date.

11. Since we are ending by Thanksgiving, can we add a mini semester between Thanksgiving and Christmas?

  • While it might be possible, we do not feel this is something we should add at this time given the many changes already taking place.

12. If we are already traveling for Thanksgiving, why not just travel for both Thanksgiving and Christmas?

  • Traveling twice risks two seasonal airport travel surges and takes campus community germs to family for Thanksgiving, then brings family germs to campus and mixes them around, before returning potentially exposed students to their family. This also avoids the typical seasonal flu surge in December which would cause elevated concern over every cough and fever.

13. Why aren’t we moving fully online?

  • Campus community is a LeTourneau distinctive for traditional students that promotes hands-on polytechnic career education, Christian community and growth, as well as student mentoring. We feel there are many advantages to doing these things in a face-to- face environment. And, we miss you!

14. What happens if there is a new wave of the pandemic in the Fall?

  • We are already preparing to accommodate students who may need to quarantine or isolate on campus and expect to be able to house students for the entire semester. However, if the pandemic were to return in such an extreme way that we no longer feel students are in a safe environment, or if governmental directives require students to return home as in Spring 2020, we will be prepared to transition to distance learning while maintaining our educational distinctives and accommodating student persistence toward graduation.

15. What if I lose a week of summer internship – what about the financial impact?

  • Getting students home before Thanksgiving will allow some to return to prior summer internships for up to seven weeks and others to work during the Christmas retail surge.

16. Why is there no Fall Break?

  • A typical Fall Break creates a four-day weekend which would facilitate travel and risk of virus spread. This is contrary to the goal of maintaining the health of the campus community and their families. The idea of a midweek one-day break was considered but caused significant disruptions to an already-reduced instructional calendar. By not having a Fall break, each day of the week (M, T, W, R, F) has the same number of instructional days, allowing all course content to be covered in labs and courses that meet once per week.

17. How will we avoid burn out without a Fall Break?

  • We will be exploring ways to address these challenges in the coming weeks.

18. Other schools have moved fully online or are only holding labs in person. Why aren’t we doing something like that?

  • We feel that LeTourneau University will be able to maintain a safe and healthy environment in person due to our campus culture. We anticipate our students being very receptive of changes and working with faculty and staff as we seek the good of our community.

19. Will class meeting times be affected by this change?

  • Class meeting times might require some adjustments to accommodate cleaning schedules, reduced classroom capacities, etc. Faculty and staff are beginning to address these challenges in the coming weeks and will provide more information at a later date.