The coronavirus pandemic forced students across New York to switch to online courses in the middle of their spring semester this year. Now, officials at Syracuse University are looking ahead to the upcoming academic year and have released a plan on how to bring students back into the classroom this fall in a way that is safe and effective.

SU staff, including Chancellor Kent Syverud, Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost John Liu, and Interim Deputy Senior Vice President Amanda Nicholson, released a statement Wednesday outlining their plan "to follow an accelerated academic calendar" for the upcoming fall semester.

Under this new schedule, students will attend in-person classes from August 24 to November 24. They will not return after Thanksgiving break, which starts November 25, and take all review sessions, reading days and final exams virtually until the end of the semester on December 9. Since in-person classes will end earlier than usual, there will be some extra classes.

In order to fulfill academic requirements and comply with public health guidance, this schedule will likely necessitate some additional Friday classes and some classes being held on weekends. We will be asking faculty to revise teaching plans accordingly, as well as to be prepared to transition to online teaching for anyone whose learning might be disrupted.

SU officials also said in the statement that most of the in-person classes will also have a simultaneous online version to accommodate student and faculty health. They assured that they, along with a team of deans, associate deans, faculty and staff, are working to ensure a safe return plan for everyone in the fall and that university facilities will be changed if necessary to meet social distancing standards.

Read the full statement here.

The sudden transition to only online classes this semester was not all sunshine and rainbows for students at higher learning institutions across New York, much less in Syracuse. Earlier this month, an SU undergraduate student named Jonathan Yin filed a class-action lawsuit against the university, asking for a reimbursement for tuition and fees after classes moved online. According to The Daily Orange, the lawsuit reads that Syracuse University's online learning options were "subpar in practically every aspect."

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