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University plans return to two-semester model for fall 2021

Campus might maintain de-densified model as University returns to a two-semester calendar

The University plans to return to a two-semester model in the fall, Provost Richard Locke P’18 said at Tuesday’s faculty meeting.

It remains uncertain whether Brown will be able to “actually return to a fully densified” campus in the fall, consistent with conditions before the pandemic, Locke said. The University is using “pretty conservative estimates” to make the decision, he added. 

The current academic calendar is operating under a three-semester model. The fall, spring and summer semesters that compose the unique academic year span 14 weeks each, compared to the customary 15 weeks per semester, and the spring semester excludes spring break.  

“We want to make sure that we can … deliver a world class education and do so safely,” Locke said. 

Locke acknowledged additional concerns about study abroad programs in the new academic year, which were canceled for both fall 2020 and spring 2021 in response to travel safety concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Brown also recently extended its suspension on all University-sponsored global travel through the current semester.

“We don't have answers to (the future of study abroad) as of today,” Locke said. “I promise you that as soon as we have more information and we feel that we can have study abroad (programs) safely, or to welcome guests safely, or to encourage travel safely … we will communicate that with you.”



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