LSU readjusts spring semester calendar, plans virtual fall graduation

    LSU is readjusting its academic calendar for the spring semester, with shorter breaks, additional holidays and classes ending a week sooner, LSU interim president Tom Galligan announced this morning via email. 

    Moreover, LSU will hold a virtual fall graduation ceremony Dec. 18, following the recommendations of public health experts. While details on the virtual ceremony will be shared with graduates in the coming days, Galligan says the university will hold an in-person ceremony for all LSU 2020 graduates “as soon as it is safe to do so,” aiming to host the event in spring 2021.

    Key changes to the spring calendar include the removals of traditionally longer Mardi Gras and spring breaks. Rather than having both the Monday and Tuesday of Mardi Gras week off, as is typically the case, students will now have only Mardi Gras day off, Tuesday, Feb. 16. Spring break has been shorted from one week to just one day—Friday, April 2—which is Good Friday.

    “In the interest of everyone’s safety, we want to avoid long holiday breaks during which people travel and then potentially bring the virus back to campus,” Galligan says in the email. 

    At the same time, extra holidays have been added in March, including a “Mid-Semester Break” on Friday, March 12, and a “March Break” on Thursday, March 25.

    Classes will also end a week sooner, with the last day of spring classes bumped from May 1 to April 24. Final exams and graduation will occur one week earlier, as well, with final exams April 26 to May 1 and graduation May 7-8.

    All other aspects of the spring calendar remain unchanged, and the spring semester will begin Monday, Jan. 11, as planned.

    In the email, Galligan tells students the spring semester will look “very similar” to this fall, featuring a combination of in-person classes, online classes and hybrids of both. Still, he says officials hope to ease some restrictions on events and student gatherings to provide a more traditional student experience.

    “We understand that the pandemic and all the new procedures it brought with it have not been convenient, but our mitigation efforts helped us maintain on-campus operations this fall and helped keep our number of COVID-19 cases relatively low,” Galligan says, adding that less than 1% of the LSU community has had the virus at any given time. “Therefore, we must continue with our basic safety practices that have been, so far, predominantly successful.” Read the full announcement.