Students have mixed emotions about fall calendar update

The Wilkes fall academic calendar has been restructured in response to COVID-19, creating mixed emotions for both students and staff. 

The fall semester, originally set to begin Aug. 31, will now begin Monday, August 24. Residential students will move back to campus in a “staggered fashion” during the week of Aug. 17, according to information at 

Classes will also be conducted on Labor Day, Sept. 7, and during days in October traditionally reserved for fall break to allow for the semester to be completed in a “slightly condensed time frame,” according to administration. Overall, class days for the semester will be reduced by four with the adjustments.

Incoming transfer student Lauren Gardner is excited for the return of face-to-face instruction, especially as a new student at the university. 

“Even without breaks, I’m happy that some of my first classes at Wilkes will be in-person, rather than in a remote setting,” said Gardner. “I’m looking forward to getting involved at Wilkes, and that’s much easier in-person.”   

While many students are eager to resume face-to-face instruction on campus, nursing student Josh Hospodar is dissatisfied with the change, even if it means a return to campus. 

“I’m not a fan,” said Hospodar. “Especially, since I’ll be losing Fridays off in the accelerated nursing program.”

According to Wilkes administration, this decision to adapt the fall semester schedule was made based on several factors, including the prediction of a second wave of COVID-19 in the late fall or early winter months. The university also hopes to limit the spread of the virus beyond Wilkes’ campus by eliminating breaks where many students travel home. 

Face-to-face instruction, as well as final exams for the fall semester, will conclude Nov. 25. The week following the Thanksgiving holiday will be reserved for the completion of any additional virtual assignments, according to administration. 

While the fall semester is only a few short weeks away, it is important to note that plans remain tentative and are still in progress, pending the health of the community, as well as the nation. 

Wilkes is also exploring options for those students who may be in isolation, or have health challenges that require avoiding crowds. 

“The University has established screening and testing protocols for students who exhibit symptoms of the virus,” explained Dr. Mark Allen, who is leading the COVID-19 task force at Wilkes, along with student Justin Kraynack. “Arrangements have also been made with food service and academic affairs for those who have to continue coursework remotely.”

In addition, new health and safety standards, as well as the implementation of social distancing and face masks, will be seen on campus during the fall semester. High-traffic areas, such as entrances, exits and stairwells will be monitored and flow in a single-direction. 

Information on Wilkes’ plan for the fall semester was last updated on June 5. For updates regarding the new fall schedule or the pandemic, visit