Notre Dame’s spring semester to begin Feb. 3

Author: Dennis Brown

Feature University Seal

The University of Notre Dame plans to begin the 2021 spring semester with in-person classes Feb. 3, forgo spring break and end classes May 11, the University’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., announced today in a letter to students, faculty and staff.

The start of the semester will be three weeks later than originally scheduled and classes will end two weeks later. Final exams will be held May 14, 15, 17, 18 and 19, and commencement ceremonies will take place the weekend of May 22-23. The University will not hold classes on Good Friday, April 2, and will provided enhanced opportunities for students to celebrate Easter on campus.

In explaining the later start and finish to the semester, Father Jenkins wrote: “The cold temperatures of winter will not allow us to use outdoor spaces as we have so far this fall, and the winter months are also the peak for seasonal flu in this region. Consequently, after discussions with the President’s Faculty Advisory Committee, the Academic Reopening Committee, the President’s Leadership Council and the Student Advisory Group for Campus Reopening, we have decided to shift the dates for the second semester of the 2020-21 academic year to lessen our time on campus during these winter months.”

Because the fall semester is ending before Thanksgiving, the break between the fall and spring semesters will be 10 weeks — much longer than usual. During what is being designated the Winter Session of the 2021 Spring Semester, the University plans to offer students a wide array of opportunities, including internships, group projects, virtual language tables, online courses and career development programming. The fee for one online course during the Winter Session will be waived for students who are enrolled full time for the spring semester.

The University is working to arrange housing options during Winter Session for international students, student-athletes and students who would face significant hardship by returning home. Laboratories will remain open and operational, as will the library, enabling faculty and graduate students to continue their research.

Father Jenkins concluded his message by writing: “As I have said before, the most important lessons we will teach or learn this year are about how we in the Notre Dame community can work together to make this a successful year. I know the year has asked a lot of each of you, and you have responded so well. I am proud of what we have accomplished, but we cannot let our guard down. Let’s each of us recommit to doing our part to keep this community healthy and remain together here on campus.”

Originally published by Dennis Brown at on September 23, 2020.