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A Safer Semester

The health and safety of our campus community is our top priority. One way of the ways we’re being proactive to help stop the spread of COVID-19 is by adjusting our fall 2020 academic calendar to reduce non-essential travel over holidays, and minimize time on campus during peak flu and cold season. This calls for flexibility and adaptability as we work together to fulfill our mission.

Summary: Revised Fall 2020 Calendar

Aug. 17 – Semester begins; first day of classes. This is a week earlier than originally planned.
Sept. 7 (Labor Day) – Classes will be held.
Sept. 26 (Saturday) – Classes will be held. 
  • Saturday classes are for MWF classes only and are required to meet accreditation requirements for minimum hours of instruction by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
  • Individual faculty may determine if these Saturday classes will be held on-campus or online and should include that information in their syllabi.
Oct. 8 and 9 (Fall Break) – We will not observe fall break; classes will be held.
Oct. 22 – Last day to drop classes
Oct. 23 – Last day to elect the pass/no credit (P/NC) option
Oct. 24 (Saturday) – Classes will be held.
  • Saturday classes are for MWF classes only and are required to meet accreditation requirements for minimum hours of instruction by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
  • Individual faculty may determine if these Saturday classes will be held on-campus or online and should include that information in their syllabi.
Nov. 17 – Last class day of classes for the fall term
Nov. 18 to 24 – Final exams will be held over five days. We will utilize the normal daily schedule of 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • There are no study days prior to final exams, but students will have a weekend between the third and fourth days of the final exam period.
Nov. 23 and 24 (Thanksgiving Break) – Classes will be held.
Dec. 4. – Grades for December degree candidates must be posted.
Dec. 10 – Semester officially ends. All other grades due
 

Additional Information

  • December graduates will be invited to participate in spring 2021 commencement. We will not hold a December ceremony.
  • Diplomas will be mailed as soon as possible after winter break.
  • In the event of inclement weather, classes can be conducted online, rather than canceling and losing a day of instruction.
  • Student Affairs will provide additional resources for students to assist during this compressed semester.

FAQ for Students & Families

To shorten the semester, we will forgo Fall Break and classes will be held on two Saturdays (for MWF classes) and Labor Day. 

  • Sept. 7 (Labor Day)
  • Oct. 8 and 9 (Fall Break)
  • Nov. 23 and 24 (Thanksgiving Break)
  • Sept. 26 and Oct. 24 (Saturdays)
  • These two Saturdays are for MWF classes only and are required to meet accreditation requirements for minimum hours of instruction by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
  • Individual faculty may determine if these Saturday classes will be held on-campus or online and should include that information in their syllabi.
  • Note: There are away football games on both of these Saturdays.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states, requires a number of minutes per class in a semester for universities to remain accredited. The requirements are as follows:

  • 37.5 clock hours/2,250 minutes per class in a semester.
  • 2,100 minutes of class time
  • 150 minutes for final exam

There will be no commencement ceremony in December. Students graduating in December will be invited to participate in the commencement ceremonies in May 2021.

Diplomas will be mailed as soon as possible after winter break.

TCU is committed to helping protect the safety and health of our campus community. Our goal is to reduce non-essential travel and minimize time on campus during peak flu and cold season in order to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and other illnesses. Deans and Faculty Senate leaders as well as Staff Assembly and the Student Government Association were consulted for feedback.

While TCU will not prevent students from going home for the weekend at this writing, they will be encouraged to limit non-essential travel to lessen their risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. TCU expects students, faculty and staff to follow health and safety guidelines, including enhanced cleaning protocols and physical distancing scenarios, with an emphasis on personal responsibility and using good judgment.

At this time, we expect that there will be some students who need to remain on campus for work or official TCU events as needed. Food service and other campus support services may be reduced or unavailable as the university breaks between semesters. We remain flexible to all possibilities due to the global pandemic. We will continue to follow federal and state guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and we will make our decision based on the circumstances at that time.

Yes. The TCU Housing and Residence Life team is working to assign students to residence hall space based on “built design,” which means that rooms designed for one, two and three students will be allocated only to that number of students. As we prepare for incoming students to select their spaces, we ask for their patience in allowing the staff to get everyone situated. Space is guaranteed for first- and second-year students, so know that everyone will have a space that is ready for them in August. In addition, enhanced cleaning protocols for common areas will be in place.

Yes, TCU will hold recruitment. We are working with leaders across the fraternity and sorority community to determine the best course of action for recruitment. We believe that for many students, involvement in a sorority or fraternity chapter is significant to their sense of belonging and early connections to this community. We are not able to safely hold recruitment in the same way that we have during our previous fall recruitment season. We will design a process that allows for student safety and a recruitment process that encourages students to get to know each other. As soon as we have a plan to share, we will do so.

Yes, students will be able to choose whether they want to take their courses online or in-person in the classroom. If you choose to take all classes online, you may take the courses from your on or off-campus residence and engage with other activities to sustain the best university experience possible. We will have more information and procedures for requesting to take online courses as we get closer to the start of the fall semester.

We expect little to no impact to cost of attendance or financial aid. Please contact the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid for specific information regarding your financial aid.

No. The semester length is shortened, but the hours of instruction and course credits are unchanged. We do not anticipate a change in tuition or housing/dining fees. If you have questions about financial aid, we encourage you to please reach out to the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid as soon as possible. It is our goal that all of our students continue their educational journey at TCU.