UD to bring more students to campus for spring semester

NEWARK — After a primarily online fall semester — and the financial hurdles that came along with it — the University of Delaware will have more face-to-face classes, and on-campus housing and activities as it heads into the spring semester, officials announced Wednesday.

“The vast majority of our students, faculty and staff have embraced the ‘Protect the Flock’ mindset to keep themselves and each other safe,” President Dennis Assanis said in a prepared statement. “Soon, we will be ramping up our surveillance testing program from 1,000 tests per week now to about 4,000 tests per week so we can quickly identify COVID-positive individuals and support them appropriately. These successes — and the culture of caring that is always a hallmark of the UD community — give us confidence to move forward with our plans to continue phasing in a more robust on-campus experience.”

Over the fall semester, the university drastically cut down on its in-person classes and on campus presence. The pandemic took a fiscal toll on the university — cashing in at a potential $250 million deficit this year without mitigation, officials said earlier this year.

In September, the university announced that staff cuts and furloughs were on the horizon. Earlier this month, the university announced employees would see at least a 5% pay cut for non-unionized employees.

As the fall semester winds down, the university is gearing up to start the spring semester a week later — to “reduce campus activities during the flu season, provide more time for a longer move-in process and allow more campus activities to take place in warmer weather,” according to a news release.

Because of physical distancing guidelines, spring classes with 50 or more students will be online, though smaller in-person breakout sessions will be offered where possible.

The university will increase the amount of students living in residences halls to 60% capacity (about 4,000 students), up from 20% (or 1,300 students) this fall. Priority will be given to first-year students.

There will be no spring break though the university will “provide wellbeing programming for students, faculty and staff.” The last day of classes will be May 18, with the final exam period to end May 27. Commencement is scheduled for May 29 and will be subject to public health guidelines.

Sports that were postponed — including football — will see a spring season, beginning Jan. 23. Winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, will begin Nov. 25. Spring sports are currently planned during their customary season. However, all regular competition schedules are likely to be shortened and modified to avoid air travel and overnight stays, according to the news release.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

Have a question, tip, or resources about the coronavirus pandemic? Submit it to our newsroom and we’ll do what we can to provide answers.