Marquette updates COVID-19 policies and academic calendar for spring semester

Students+will+be+required+to+upload+proof+of+booster+by+Feb.1

Photo by Josh Meitz

Students will be required to upload proof of booster by Feb.1

The Office of the Provost at Marquette University has announced that there will be no changes to the 2022 spring and Easter breaks. In addition, May 2022 commencement will go ahead as planned, taking place May 21-22.

Spring break will take place March 13-19. Easter break will take place between April 14-18 for undergraduate students and April 14-17 for graduate students.

The changes to the academic calendar come after the university’s announcement two weeks ago to postpone the start of the spring semester until Jan. 24 for undergraduate, graduate and law students as a response to COVID-19 and the omicron variant. 

“Provost (Kimo) Ah Yun and President Lovell worked with the recommendation from their medical team along with the executive committee of the Board of Trustees and the COVID-19 Response Team,” Allison Abbott, chair of the University Academic Senate and associate professor of biological sciences, said in an email to faculty.

Additionally, students will be required to upload proof of a COVID-19 booster by Feb. 1 or undergo weekly testing. Marquette will also continue to require that masks be worn in indoor spaces on campus.

There will also be changes to the daily COVID Cheq system. Beginning Jan. 19 only those who have been vaccinated and uploaded proof of the booster will receive an automatic green COVID Cheq. Anyone who has not uploaded proof of the booster will have to complete the daily COVID Cheq screening before receiving a green badge.

The green COVID Cheq badge is used to access different campus facilities such as the library and various dining halls

The semester was originally scheduled to begin Jan. 18. As a result of the semester being pushed back, Marquette will add four additional instruction days at the end of the academic calendar. 

The last day of spring classes will now be Tuesday, May 10 with finals taking place between Wednesday, May 11 through Tuesday, May 17. Finals will not occur over the weekend unless it’s a Saturday class.

Residence halls will close Thursday, May 19 at 5:30 p.m. but students are expected to leave 48 hours after their last final. Normally, students living in residence halls are only allowed to stay 24 hours after their last final. However, in order to give students more options, they have been given an additional 24 hours in light of the change.

After the announcement

Prior to making the calendar changes, input was gathered from different groups across campus such as the Academic Senate executive committee, the COVID-19 Response Team, Marquette University Student Government executive board, Academic Deans Council, COVID-19 academic planning group, department chairs and Graduate Student Organization leaders.

Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and member of the COVID-19 Response Team John Su was a part of gathering this input from across campus.

“I think first and foremost everyone wanted to create a calendar that was in the best interests of students and their learning experience,” Su said in an email. “Our student leaders in Marquette University Student Government and the Graduate Student Organization provided crucial feedback on the best way to balance these various priorities. We should all be grateful to them, Su said in an email.

In addition, Su mentioned that the university wanted to minimize confusion and create a schedule that had the least amount of “disruptions.” 

“It was also important to ensure that we were in compliance with our accrediting body The Higher Learning Commission, The Department of Education, and the various accreditation/licensure requirements of many of our programs.” 

Other guiding factors included having a similar number of current instructional days, as well as days in the residence and dining halls.

MUSG President Katie Breck said that following the announcement last week, MUSG met with Su to discuss changes to the academic calendar. 

“We spoke about the importance of prioritizing both the physical and mental health of students, emphasizing that the decisions made must reflect the importance of providing substantial breaks, alleviating the additional stressors and student anxiety brought upon by the Omicron variant, and keeping all members of the Marquette community as safe as possible,” Breck said in an email.

Other concerns MUSG brought up during their meeting with Su, was how the academic calendar change would affect all aspects of the student experience.

“We were also mindful of the how these changes will impact the different requirements and curricula present within different colleges and academic programs, final exams and other academic deadlines, and the learning and living experiences of students from all different backgrounds, identities, and experiences,” Breck said in an email.

Breck said that MUSG approached their conversation with Su as way to put students first and advocate for their needs as the university explored options to make up for the four instructional days.

“With the mission of MUSG being rooted in actively identifying, understanding, addressing, and representing all student needs, goals, and interests, we advocated for student needs to be put first by administration when making these decisions,” Breck said in an email.

The Law School and the Graduate School of Management are communicating with their students, faculty and staff directly about changes to their schedules.

There will be no changes to the School of Dentistry as they started their semester as planned Jan. 3.

Any clinical or other off-site work will be communicated with external partners. Any additional changes to certain programs will be communicated from the program dean’s office.

Despite the multiple changes prior to the start of the semester, the university said that it is still committed to providing an in-person learning experience for the spring 2022 semester.

“Just as we worked together to be able to stay in-person all of fall semester and achieve a 93% campus vaccination rate, we will work together to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” University President Michael Lovell said in a release.

This story was written by Megan Woolard. She can be reached at megan.woolard@marquette.edu