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KINGSTON, R.I. – The University of Rhode Island’s Faculty Senate has voted to eliminate spring break for 2021 and instead end spring classes one week earlier.

In making its decision, the Faculty Senate cited uncertainty created by COVID-19 outbreaks across the country and, in particular, on college campuses.

The move also adds an additional reading day to the final exam period at URI. The dates for submission of final grades and commencements remain the same.

URI President David M. Dooley has approved the calendar changes, according to URI.

The senate voted to approve the calendar changes Sept. 17, citing the goals of ensuring a smooth spring semester and positive experience, as well as a safe campus environment.

The change also allows URI to offer students as many in-person and blended classes as possible and prevents an abrupt shift to fully remote instruction for all courses, similar to what happened after the 2020 spring break at the outset of COVID-19 in Rhode Island.

Next year’s spring break was originally scheduled for March 22 through 28.

The last day of classes in the new calendar is April 26, with reading days set for April 27, 28 and 29. Final exams are scheduled for April 30 and May 3 through 7.

Undergraduate commencement is scheduled for May 23, the date set in the original calendar. Graduate commencement is set for May 22.

URI also announced recently that it would not be able to hold an in-person commencement for the Class of 2020 in the current year.

“In planning ahead, we hope to hold in-person commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 in spring 2021, at a time and in a manner that safeguards the health and safety of our students, their families, and guests, adhering to the best advice and guidance of scientists and health authorities,” URI said in a statement. The school said it would provide updates in early 2021.

“We are deeply disappointed that we have to make this decision and hope you understand that it is made in the spirit of keeping you, your families, friends and the wider community as healthy and safe as possible,” the school told graduates.

URI held a series of virtual commencement activities in May for the Class of 2020.

“As you know, we held a variety of virtual celebrations in the spring with the hope of scheduling in-person ceremonies this fall. The virtual celebrations were planned, not to replace a traditional ceremony, but to confer degrees in a timely manner,” the school said.

URI said that when it’s possible to hold an in-person ceremony, it would welcome graduates back to campus.

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