HELENA — Carroll College will start their fall semester early this year in order for students to complete their courses -- including finals -- prior to Thanksgiving.
Classes will begin on Aug. 17 and wrap by Nov. 25. The timing is 10 days earlier than the previously scheduled start date of Aug. 26, and the fall break has been removed. Students will receive the same number of instructional hours as a regular fall semester.
The decision to move up classes was made in consultation with Lewis and Clark Public Health and other medical professionals. Health experts warn there is a chance of COVID having a reemergence this fall. By moving up classes, the college is able to help limit some of the large-scale student travel that typically occurs during the fall semester.
“The safety of our students was number one in that decision,” said Carroll College President John Cech. “We spent time thinking about what’s most important and by having the students begin early on August 17 and complete before thanksgiving we thought was the best decision.”
Cech created a “Marching Back” task force to develop protocols from standards and safety for every aspect, including on-campus educational and residential experience for the fall 2020 semester.
“That task force has been looking at everything from residence halls, to dining, to the athletic facilities and recreation facilities to classrooms,” said Cech. “We are open for business. We’re going to have students back on campus this fall and we’re going to have a very safe collegiate experience.”
The task force is expected to reveal their fall safety plans in detail in mid-June.
The University of Montana also announced on Thursday that fall semester classes in Missoula will begin earlier than usual.