Academic Calendar Changes 


Hannah Perry

After spending the 2020 spring semester at home, Buena Vista University’s students returned to campus and were met with an academic calendar that proposed a schedule unlike any other from the past. After consideration from administration and BVU’s health and safety task forces, it was determined that students would stay home after Thanksgiving break, come back but miss out on spring break and transfer their interim classes from January to May.  

Dr. Thomas Bonagura, Dean of the School of Science, served on the health and safety task forces. Before this semester began, he was involved in the prioritization and planning stages of reopening BVU amid the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed the logistical difficulties the groups faced.  

“There’s a lot of moving parts that go into that and a lot of different things you have to account for,” Bonagura said. “By the time you figure it out, it’s sometimes too late to do it. Part of it is watching the COVID rates for the country and state and trying to figure out if it’s getting better or worse, which hampers your ability to make a plan.” 

Constructing the academic calendar, the task forces decided that students on campus would attend in-person classes from August 21 through November 20. After the long stretch without breaks, the next two months have been slated for students to remain home until the beginning of the spring semester.  

Normally during this time, students would be enrolled in interim classes during January as part of J-Term. According to Bonagura, former president Merchant spearheaded the extra period of learning to be moved to May with the goal of providing a new and hopefully enhanced experience. 

When students return to campus in the spring, they will once again go straight through the semester with limited breaks. This includes the lack of spring break, which was another issue the task forces had to face. 

“It was a tough decision in the sense that nobody really wanted to do it,” Bonagura said. “But in the end when you start weighing all the outcomes and options, you’re kind of forced to do it. I mean, the spread is the problem and every time there’s a relaxation there’s another spike. If we all disperse to our individual areas, who knows what happens when you’re home.” 

 With nearly two weeks until resident halls become vacant, sophomore Taylor Raibikis voiced her concerns about the lack of breaks throughout the semesters.  

“For me, I have a lot of anxiety due to the pandemic and its effects and worrying about the ungodly amount of coursework I have on top of that takes a toll,” Raibikis said. “The school seemed very understanding of this and claimed they wanted to be sensitive to us in these troubling times, but the removal of a break, our time to unwind and reset before we dive back in, says otherwise.” 

Moving forward, Bonagura acknowledges and empathizes with students when it comes to the hardships of the schedule changes. He also encourages students to keep complying with safety precautions so they can continue enjoying the time they get to spend at BVU.  

“We’re stuck with this and it’s not going away so we might as well follow the protocols and stay here,” Bonagura said. “I also think it helped that things got slightly better when there was a pointed message of ‘if we don’t follow these rules, we’ll be sent home’ and nobody wants to go home. As fun as your home is, it’s more fun to be at college.” 


For the complete schedule of the 2020-2021 school year, visit: