Point Loma Nazarene University decided to start fall classes in mid-August in hopes of completing the semester before winter, when the new coronavirus could resurface across the country.
The private Christian liberal arts school says students will start on August 17 and complete final exams on November 24 or 25. Any final work they need to do will be done online.
PLNU will have a winter break from December 5 to January 10, followed by an online mini-term from January 11 to February 12.
“By adjusting the academic calendar we hope to avoid the need for students to travel back and forth during a season with possibly a higher level of respiratory illness,” said President Bob Bower in a statement to the university community.
Bower added that all fall classes “will be offered face-to-face, but built in a hybrid format with technology capabilities to move quickly online if needed and offer students flexibility in their mode of attendance.”
“PLNU has invested in video technology within all of our classrooms and meeting spaces so that students can seamlessly participate in the hybrid environment.”
The university, which is more than a century old, also plans to conduct coronavirus tests in the fall. But Bower did not specifically say whether the 2,700 students at the PLNU will have to undergo the tests.
Student residences will be open during the fall, in a format that will emphasize social distancing.
The plan is very similar to one developed by the University of San Diego, another private school.
San Diego State University and Cal State San Marcos planned to offer primarily face-to-face classes in the fall. But the California State University board of trustees recently decided that the 23-campus system will remain largely virtual.
UC San Diego plans to be open mostly in the fall, and has moved aggressively to make the campus safer. Three weeks ago, UCSD became the first major research university in the country to begin conducting massive tests on students to voluntarily detect the virus. The pilot program ends on Friday.
The University of California Board of Regents may follow the CSU example and mandate that most fall classes be offered online only. The Regents will review the matter at their June meeting.