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Adjustments made to instruction and spring break for next semester

UNG will increase its face-to-face instruction for the 2021 spring semester. Hybrid 1 courses will change to 50%, which means students and faculty will meet in person at least once a week. For example, if students enroll in a Monday, Wednesday, Friday course, they will be divided into three groups with each group meeting with the faculty member once a week.

As the University of North Georgia (UNG) continues its efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and enhance the academic experience for its students, the university has made adjustments for the spring 2021 semester.

UNG will increase its face-to-face instruction, with Hybrid 1 courses changing to 50%, which means students and faculty will meet in person at least once a week. For example, if students enroll in a Monday, Wednesday, Friday course, they will be divided into three groups with each group meeting in person with the faculty member once a week.

The remaining 50% of class sessions will be delivered through technology. Last semester, hybrid courses ranged from 25% to 50% face-to-face instruction.

"This has an impact on how courses are taught, how students learn and how well they can engage with other students and faculty," said Dr. Chaudron Gille, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at UNG.

A "partially at a distance" modality has been added. Technology will be used to deliver more than 50% of class sessions, but visits to a classroom or similar site are required.

The other four modalities — fully at a distance, Hybrid 3, technology enhanced, and no technology — will remain the same.

UNG's attendance policy has also been updated. For all hybrid courses, students are expected to participate in the online and face-to-face portions. Both components of the course complement each other; one is not a substitute for the other.

The change stemmed from faculty reporting that many students were not attending classes in-person or online and opting to review the class recording later if available. Students also have reported confusion about when they were supposed to attend class.

Students who stop attending class may be administratively withdrawn with or without academic penalty. A grade of W, or withdraw and passing, may be assigned when students fail to attend 10% of any class meetings prior to the midpoint of the term. A grade of WF, withdraw and failing, will be assigned when students stop attending after the midpoint. Students who are ill for an extended period or face other major hardships may apply for a hardship withdrawal with no academic penalty.

The academic calendar has also been changed for spring. While the semester start and end dates of Jan. 11 and April 30 will remain the same, spring break has been changed. Instead of the traditional weeklong break in March, students will have a two-day break on April 1 and 2. On March 9, no classes will occur to provide students and faculty an instructional break.

Gille said other schools plan to start late and extend the academic year into May.

"Many schools are eliminating spring break because of the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks associated with people traveling from one region of the country to another," Gille said. "UNG considered many factors in deciding to keep the same start and end dates for the term and replace the spring break in March with a four-day weekend in early April."

Factors that played into the decision included the impact on incoming cadets for spring 2021, previously scheduled clinical placements and internships for students, accreditation requirements for length of term, financial aid considerations, and the desire to have a break of some type for faculty and students.

The shortened spring break does not affect any other dates of the academic calendar at the current time. Add/drop is Jan. 15 and the withdrawal deadline is March 5. Final exams are scheduled for May 3-7.

For a full list of spring semester academic dates and deadlines, visit UNG's academic calendar webpage.

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