Updated: January 11, 2021 10:40 PM
Created: January 11, 2021 07:59 PM
Spring semester is beginning for UMD students on Wednesday, and on Monday, officials laid out what that will look like.
Amid the pandemic, Chancellor Lynn Black says they are planning to approach the spring semester the same as they did the fall.
"I was very pleased with the way the fall semester went regarding COVID-19," said Black.
While UMD did have cases of COVID-19, Black says they never had a "major surge" on campus, and adds that their numbers were "reasonable."
There were about 600 total COVID-19 cases reported by the state health department between students, faculty, and staff.
"That 600 number is not a bad number if you consider the fact that we have a university community of about 12,000," said Black.
To try and continue to keep the numbers as low as possible, students will again be required to wear masks in most indoor situations, and in all other settings, including outdoors, where social distancing isn't being observed.
Black says diligent mask wearing and social distancing was a big reason there weren't any significant surges.
"I think the fact that we had such good compliance with mask wearing, and our other requirements, I think was a major factor in preventing a major outbreak," said Black.
The spring semester will run as planned other than spring break. Students will have the Monday and Tuesday off as scheduled, but then the last three days will be postponed until later on in the semester.
As far as the learning models, there will be face-to-face, online, and blended instruction. To help with online instruction, new equipment was installed in classrooms and lecture halls.
While online isn't the preferred method of teaching, Black is hopeful it won't have to be that way for much longer.
"We're hopeful. We're hopeful that there will be more face-to-face instruction. We're hopeful that campus life will look a little more normal next fall in terms of campus activities, and those things kinds of things," said Black.
UW-Superior's spring semester is beginning on January 20.
Students there will be required to wear masks in all indoor public spaces with limited exceptions and strongly encouraged outside when physical distancing is not possible.