Update from President Hawkinson on 2021 Spring Semester

Dear KU Campus Community,

My warmest greetings as we near the midway point of a fall semester that has been unlike any other in our history. You all have weathered the challenges we faced in the weeks following our return to campus. I often talk about fortitude and grit, and some may object to my mentioning of these attributes, but these are words that reflect who we are as a community. It is only because of the resolve and inner strength of our faculty, staff, students and broader community that we have been successful thus far in our reopening this fall for an on-campus experience for our students.

While the number of positive cases on campus has significantly declined, we all must remain vigilant regarding our health and wellness in the weeks and months ahead. This is also the point in the semester that our students and faculty must begin planning for their spring coursework, and I am sure many of you have questions regarding the status of our campus for spring 2021.

Currently, our plan is to conduct the 2021 spring semester similar to the current model that is in place for the fall. The academic calendar has us returning to class Tuesday, Jan. 19. There will be no spring break. Instead, there will be five days throughout the semester in which classes will not be held (Feb. 11, March 10, April 2, 3 and 20). Finals will be held the week of May 3, with the semester ending May 8.

Advisement for spring courses begins Monday, Oct. 19, and registration begins Monday, Nov. 2. At this time, we expect a similar profile of course offerings for the spring as what is in place right now. Students will have available face-to-face classes; synchronized online classes, wherein the class will meet "live" at set days and times; online classes that are asynchronized, or don’t meet in real time; and hybrid classes, wherein students will rotate in their classes between in-person with their professor, or will engage with their class in real time from a computer. Students should be sure to look at the modality of the class they select, so they know how the class is scheduled to be delivered.

As I stated in my August 3 remarks about our plans to reopen to an on-campus experience in the fall, Kutztown University is a part of a broader community, wherein many rely on us to continue our mission of providing a quality education for our students, and of serving our faculty, staff and broader community. Students do better in classes that are taught face-to-face and in real time with their professors, wherein they are living with their peers and sharing in on-campus experiences. We employ 900 employees, and many affiliated workers, and they and their families depend on us for their livelihood. We also are committed to supporting our local businesses.

Much depends on us, but we must do it right. We must look at our reopening plan and make changes that are necessary to mitigate the risk to our community. For this reason, our Emergency Management Team (EMT) is currently working on updating the spring semester plan, and is welcoming feedback from the campus community. Please send your thoughts and suggestions to Amy Ridenour, who is my liaison to the EMT, at ridenour@kutztown.edu by the end of business hours Friday, Oct. 23. The EMT will review all input from the community and consider it for our spring return. We hope to share further details of our spring semester plan before our students leave campus for the fall semester November 20.

As I said in August, Kutztown University is in its 154th year of existence. We are the beneficiaries of a powerful legacy that has persevered through economic crises, world wars, a Great Depression and past pandemics. Now is the time for us to again say "YES" to the future – to serve as a courageous example to others – to do what we know in our hearts is right … understanding that, if necessary, we may have to change course.

I am very proud of the strength and resolve of our faculty, staff, students, and the broader Kutztown community – it is an honor to be among you.


Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson
Kutztown University