As West Virginia continues its phased reopening and the COVID-19 new positive test numbers for Marion County continues to be zero, Fairmont State University has re-envisioned their academic calendar to keep students safe while still attending face-to-face classes on the campus that they love.
“This historic crisis has challenged every aspect of higher education,” Mirta M. Martin, president of Fairmont State University, said. “But through it all, the entire Fairmont State family has not only risen to the challenge, but I think we’re even stronger for having worked through the journey to our ‘new normal.’ We still don’t know what that will look like, but I sleep well knowing that our community is not daunted, but rather is excited to define it.”
The semester will unofficially begin with move-in for all students beginning July 31. Move-in will take place over the course of 10 days through personal scheduled appointments aimed at increasing social distancing.
After welcoming home all faculty, staff and on-campus students, the University will celebrate its postponed spring Commencement during the weekend of August 8-9. Additional information about these events will be released to all graduates throughout the summer. Graduates who did not apply to participate in the May ceremony and would like to participate in the August ceremony, please apply at www.fairmontstate.edu/grad.
The fall semester will officially begin on August 10, one week earlier than previously planned.
“While there may be some changes to the day-to-day delivery of on-campus courses, our commitment to our mission remains steadfast,” Martin said. “Our teacher-mentors are innovative and caring – they’re the primary reason Fairmont State can continue to deliver transformative educational experiences to our students.”
The last day of classes will be November 13 and final exams will be held November 16-20. Winter Commencement is scheduled for November 21 and 22, the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Martin notes there are upsides to these changes in the academic calendar, saying, “We treat our students like family, so we will be increasing student services to make sure these students have the academic and personal support they need to thrive under this new schedule. We’ve also found that many of our students prefer shorter, more consolidated courses – these shorter course durations fit in more effectively with work schedules or family obligations. As an added bonus, the students will now get more uninterrupted time at home to spend with family and friends during the longer winter break.”
By finishing the fall term prior to Thanksgiving, Fairmont State will be able to offer, for the first time in recent history, an online winter term—commonly called a J (for January) term.
University leadership will continue to evaluate the academic calendar throughout the summer and make any needed revisions including finalizing details about the winter and spring terms.