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Breaking: In Light of COVID-19 Concerns, the Bi-Co Pushes the Semester Back

As a result of high COVID-19 infection rates, the Bi-Co has elected to delay the start of the spring semester by two weeks. President Wendy Raymond announced the decision by email to the Haverford community on Tuesday, December 22.

The spring semester will now begin on February 12, with classes ending on May 13. Final exams will finish on May 22. This is two weeks after the original proposed start date of January 29.

President Raymond also announced that in lieu of a traditional spring break, there will be a “Spring Pause” from Saturday, March 27 through Tuesday, March 30 during which classes will be cancelled. Community members will not be permitted to travel during this long weekend.

“As you have probably heard via news coverage, public health models are forecasting an increase in COVID-19 rates in January 2021, even though vaccines are now being distributed,” wrote President Raymond. “Following new guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and our public health/medical advisors, Bryn Mawr and Haverford will be shifting the Spring 2021 semester back.”

For some students, this decision raises immediate concerns. Many have already booked flights to Haverford and changing them can be costly. This is especially true for Haverford’s international students, who will be traveling from all over the world. 

The Haverford administration has pledged to work with students who have already booked flights or need assistance coming back to Haverford. 

“We recognize that it may be a hardship for some students who have made travel plans to change their arrival plans,” wrote President Raymond. “Those who would experience a hardship should contact their dean; Residential Life will work with the Dean’s Office to accommodate necessary exceptions to new move-in dates. Our International Student Support staff will work with international students in order to ensure that they meet visa and travel requirements.”

This plan will not change the COVID-related arrival protocols already in place. The first two weeks of classes will be remote and before coming to Haverford students will be expected to take an initial COVID test. Once they arrive on campus, students will need to quarantine until they take a second COVID test.

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