McMaster delays winter semester start date

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McMaster University has delayed the start of classes in the winter semester by an additional week to help limit any potential COVID-19 cases after the holiday break.

In a letter sent to students and faculty on Thursday, provost Susan Tighe said classes would begin on Jan. 11 instead of Jan. 4 as initially planned.

“This change in the starting day for most classes will give faculty, instructors and staff the opportunity to spend their working time the week of January 4th on preparation for the winter term,” Tighe wrote.

“The delay also gives students time to recharge and those who went home for their Christmas break the chance to isolate for an additional week to help limit any potential COVID-19 cases.”

The decision to delay classes came from a recommendation from the school’s Virtual Learning Task Force, which has sought feedback and gathered information from students and faculty about remote learning throughout the fall semester.

With only a few exceptions, classes at McMaster have been conducted remotely this year. They will continue to be virtual in the winter semester.

Tighe said classes will be extended into the exam period which will also be adjusted so there isn’t overlap between classes and exams.

Reading week will take place as planned during the week of Feb. 15.

“Instructors are also asked to consider using the week of January 11th to help students connect with their classmates, hold additional office hours and to encourage students to participate in McMaster’s support programs to help them stay healthy and well,” Tighe said.

Jacob Lorinc, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator