JSU poised to have spring break as it makes spring 2021 plans

Provost Christie Shelton, pictured, speaks at the unveiling of the president’s list sign outside of Bibb Graves Hall earlier this month. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)Provost Christie Shelton, pictured, speaks at the unveiling of the president’s list sign outside of Bibb Graves Hall earlier this month. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Luke Reed, Correspondent

With an unprecedented semester impacted by COVID-19 coming to a close, some may wonder what the upcoming spring semester has in store.

In March, the decision was made to convert all JSU classes online as the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect the state of Alabama. Since then, the university has continued to adapt to online and hybrid learning.

The spring 2021 semester is poised to feature a spring break, JSU officials confirmed, as many universities across the country grapple with the decision of whether or not to have a spring break. So far, the University of Georgia, the University of Alabama, the University of Florida, Baylor University, Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky have made plans to cancel spring break.

“JSU leadership decided that we have a spring break,” said Jeff Ryan, the JSU’s COVID-19 task force head and chief of program operations, in a town hall late October.

Ryan said that the administration trusts that travel will be “fairly limited over this time period,” considering the campus population and JSU’s ability to monitor surrounding counties.

“A good sum of students who are from out-of-state are athletes, who are tested regularly,” he added.

As in the fall 2020 semester, students will not have to face paying for online classes if said classes were originally planned to be traditional, Provost Christie Shelton said at the town hall. If a professor changes their instruction style from traditional to online due to a medical health risk, the student would not receive the up-charged online tuition, according to Shelton.

As new COVID-19 cases continue to rise both in the state and Calhoun County, the university’s number of active COVID-19 cases has remained steady since the initial surge of cases at the beginning of the semester. These numbers include students who have reported a positive test to the university or received a positive test at the Student Health Center.

As of Wednesday, the university is monitoring 21 active cases of the virus.

Efforts to reach Provost Christie Shelton and Chief of Program Operations Jeff Ryan for further comment were unsuccessful.

Next semester, students will still complete the daily Healthchecks. These will help JSU and the COVID-19 task force help monitor campus and keep students updated on the pandemic.

Jacksonville State University’s residence halls will be closing for Thanksgiving break on Saturday, Nov. 21 at noon and will reopen on Sunday, Nov. 29 at noon.

Students will return to campus for classes on Jan. 12.

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