What can students expect for the 2021 spring semester?
SWOSU Vice President and Provost James South gives insight on what spring 2021 will look like.
By Sydnie Balcer
As students prepare for the holidays, SWOSU Vice President and Provost James South wants students to know what to expect for the semester and also how to stay safe over Thanksgiving and Christmas break.
When students return for the spring semester, South said they can expect things to be relatively the same to what they are now.
“It’ll be relatively the same,” South said. “We feel pretty confident that what we’ve been doing has been working. We believe no cases have been transmitted at school.”
Students will still be required to wear masks on campus and social distance, and the university will continue performing tests on the wastewater, which is a precaution recommended by the CDC to monitor spikes in COVID-19 cases in communities.
There will be a little more access to testing in the spring semester in order to test student athletes as sports start back up, but there will not be COVID-19 tests widely available for the SWOSU student body from the university due to costs and access. Students in Weatherford can get a COVID-19 rapid test at Xpress Wellness Urgent Care Weatherford or travel to nearby towns like Clinton and Watonga.
SWOSU recently announced that spring break for the 2021 semester will be canceled, with the semester still beginning on Jan. 11 but ending on April 30. According to South, the reason for ending the semester earlier by not extending winter break was based on input from the Student Government Association, the Faculty Senate, and the Staff Council. The decision also made more sense logistically, since SWOSU took longer than other universities to announce the cancellation of spring break.
As students prepare to go on break and celebrate the holidays this year, South wants students to continue taking safety precautions for themselves and for their families.
“Be very careful,” South said. “Everybody knows it, but it’s worth repeating that this virus may not be too hard on students, but you might take it to one of your elderly relatives.
South believes that SWOSU’s precautions have been effective in preventing transmission and is proud of students on how they have handled the challenges brought up this semester.
“I also want to commend students on how well they’ve adapted to this challenge,” South said. “It’s working because everyone’s doing it.”
Classes for the spring 2021 semester will begin on Jan. 11, and the semester will end on April 30 due to spring break getting canceled. SWOSU has created an updated academic calendar for students to reference for the 2021 spring and summer semesters.