The College has been considering the timing and instructional delivery that make the most sense for Ringling College of Art and Design’s Spring semester, given the COVID-19 situation locally, statewide, nationally, and globally. Here at Ringling College, we have been fortunate and thus far have experienced very few – only three cases in total – of COVID-19 among our campus community since the beginning of the Fall semester. Our low numbers are in large part because of the conscientiousness that you students have demonstrated in following the safety protocols. I know following all these procedures is not easy, so I want to thank all of you for working so diligently to keep yourselves and others healthy.
This Fall semester, Ringling College is offering courses both in-person and remotely so that you and your families could choose the options that best meet your needs. We remain committed to these same goals for Spring 2021. Therefore, we have decided to start the Spring 2021 semester on Monday, January 25, 2021, which delays the earlier planned start by two weeks. This later start will provide you with a longer winter break and ensure students coming from international locations have sufficient time to quarantine before the start of classes. For this second semester, we will continue to deliver courses both in-person and remotely so that you and your families can make the decision about Spring semester that works best for your situation. You will be receiving a communication from Academic Affairs asking you to indicate whether you would like to maintain or change your current course delivery method and housing situation for the Spring semester. For those interested, we do have housing available. Under this new schedule, classes will end on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, with Commencement tentatively scheduled for Thursday, May 13, 2021. The full updated academic calendar is available online.
Like we did in the fall, we will also be implementing another baseline testing protocol for all students, faculty, and staff before the beginning of the Spring semester. We will also require adherence to the same safety protocols we have been using this Fall, including, for example, use of face coverings in public and shared spaces and physical distancing. More information about Spring semester, including testing, housing, and safety protocols for students, will be forthcoming from Student Life.
Some institutions have decided to eliminate Spring Break, and we are doing the same. However, we recognize that this mid-semester break is incredibly important for you to rest, catch up on academic work, and reset for the hard push to the end of the year. After careful consideration, we have decided to include three consecutive Focus Days in lieu of our traditional Spring Break. The Focus Days will take place Monday, March 8 – Wednesday, March 10, 2021. These days are intended to give you time away from scheduled classes so that you may FOCUS – on yourself, your projects, your overall health, and whatever you need to refuel and refresh. We know how hard you work at Ringling College and realize that this pause is crucial to your having a successful semester. On the other hand, it is essential that we not let down our guard in our continued efforts to maintain the health and well-being of our campus community. To help us do that, we are strongly discouraging you from traveling over these days.
Academic Affairs and Student Life will be sending communications to students shortly with more specific details about the Spring 2021 term. In addition, we will be hosting virtual information sessions for students and families to learn more about the Spring semester. The first of these sessions is scheduled for Wednesday, October 28, 2020, at 7:00 PM. A formal invitation with Zoom link will be coming soon.