What Thanksgiving, winter break and the return to campus looks like with COVID-19 and the altered fall schedule

If a student does not fill out a break form, housing will assume the student will be leaving for Thanksgiving break and will secure their room.

Between this year’s move-in process, which phased students in over the course of a week to avoid overcrowding, and the reduced fall break from one week to one day, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many unforeseen complications with scheduling at New College. With the fall semester’s end on the horizon, the latest scheduling questions and concerns revolve around Thanksgiving break and return to campus for Independent Study Projects (ISP). Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs Mark Stier offered some clarification on when students can expect to return and how to reach out to secure their return plans.

 The continuously evolving state of the pandemic both on campus and throughout Florida left students, faculty and administration alike playing things by ear. The Campus Reopening Plan, finalized in June states that all in-person classes will end by Thanksgiving and final exams will be completed remotely. Larger public universities in Florida have adopted similar plans to complete the fall semester virtually, such as University of Central Florida and University of South Florida.

Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, is marked as the final day of fall classes on campus according to the Fall 2020 Undergraduate Academic Calendar, with the official exam week listed as Dec. 2 to 8. In an email interview, Stier said that all on-campus students will be able to return beginning on Jan. 3.

“Students who make the decision to leave campus for Thanksgiving break will register with housing,” Stier said.  “We will plug their individual bedroom door for additional security.”

Students are instructed to remain off campus if they register to leave for Thanksgiving break, which can be done in the housing registration tab at myncf.edu. This is in order to prevent a potential outbreak of COVID-19. However, students without the option to safely leave campus this winter are encouraged to contact Stier for accommodations.

“If any student is unable to leave campus due to the COVID-19 situation they should make an appointment to see me as soon as possible,” Stier said. “Housing is working on resources to assist those students who are unable to leave campus during the winter recess.”

Whereas move-in plans in August had students return gradually over the course of a week, Stier said that “because students have keys already,” those returning to campus for ISP may all arrive on Jan. 3.

It is currently unclear if students will need to be tested and send their negative test result to the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC) email prior to returning on Jan. 3, as was required before their initial move-in to campus.

“We are working on this and once we have ironed it out we will send out this information to our community,” Stier said.

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