OBU has revised the fall calendar for academic year 2020-21. The Board of Trustees voted to move up the start of the fall semester, remove Labor Day and Fall Free Days, and conclude the fall semester before Thanksgiving. The move is part of the University’s COVID-19 response plan for the safe return to campus for students this fall.
The first day of class for the fall semester will be Monday, Aug. 10. Residence halls and apartments will open Aug. 5-6, with new student orientation Welcome Week activities running Aug. 7-9. Finals week will take place Nov. 16-19 and Winter Commencement will be held Saturday, Nov. 21.
The rationale behind the change is an attempt to reduce the threat of COVID-19 spread and infection from outside sources during the course of the semester. With Labor Day and Fall Free Days being removed, students and employees will be less likely to take trips, potentially contract the virus, and return to campus. Thanksgiving break is typically a nine-day span, where the campus completely closes down. That amount of time would allow for the greatest potential exposure to carriers. Thus, the goal was to not have students return once they dismiss for Thanksgiving until the start of the January term or spring semester.