Academic Quad

Fall 2020 semester will begin on Monday, Aug. 17


Through the past several weeks, we have appreciated your patience as we have worked to get to this point in answering your questions about how we will operate this coming fall. To that end, I am writing to share our plans for returning to campus in August. Details will continue to evolve, but our commitment to your health and to quality academic instruction remains paramount.

We are planning for a modified calendar which will prioritize the health and safety of the entire BU community, maximize the use of our classrooms for instruction while following social distancing guidelines, and allow us flexibility should there be a resurgence of COVID outbreaks during the coming year.

We anticipate that our Fall 2020 semester will begin under GREEN status, and we will continue to adhere to health and safety guidelines from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as directives from the Governor’s Office and the Office of the Chancellor.

Our Fall 2020 semester will begin on Monday, Aug. 17, which is one week earlier than planned and will consist of two condensed sessions, and one full semester. One-third of all courses will be offered within one of these three sessions.

We are working toward the above adjusted calendar. Students will be receiving revised Fall course schedules with the full load spread out over the three sessions. We will notify students when the new schedule is ready for review.

Finally, as mandated by the Governor’s Office, if Columbia County is placed in RED status, we will transition to remote instruction. Per Pennsylvania Department of Education guidance, exceptions to this transition would include programs preparing individuals for licensure and clinical training programs. Students in these programs would receive communication from their department as to how to report for clinical courses. 

            President Bashar W. Hanna
Carver Hall

2020-21 Academic Calendar

  • Fall I — Aug. 17 to Nov. 24 
  • Fall II — Aug. 17 to Oct. 6 
  • Fall III — Oct. 7 to Nov. 24 

Winter dates still pending

  •  Spring I (full spring semester) — Feb. 1 to May 11
  • Spring II — Feb. 1 to March 23
  • Spring III — March 24 to May 11 


Fall Open Q&A

We're working on answers to the many questions we've received about the Fall 2020 reopening plan.

The classroom experience will be different than a traditional semester. Due to the reduced capacity in classrooms we have scheduled courses in one of three sessions. Session I is aligned with the normal 15-week semester. In addition, there will be two condensed, 7-week sessions.

Can I have a fully face-to-face schedule?
It might be possible as we are attempting to offer courses with multiple sections in all three formats (face-to-face, remote, and blended). There will be occasions that your preferred format may not be available.

Can I have a fully remote/online schedule?
It might be possible as we are attempting to offer courses with multiple sections in all three formats (face-to-face, remote, and blended). There will be occasions that your preferred format may not be available.

What's remote synchronous instruction?
The course can be streamed online but watched live during a scheduled class time.

What's remote asynchronous instruction?
A student can access the course at their own schedule rather than a scheduled course time.

What does blended learning mean
Students will have both face-to-face and online meeting sessions for the course. Due to reduced classroom capacity this could include, for example: attending the course live on Tuesday and zooming in to the classroom on Thursday. The goal is to maximize the face-to-face contact time.

What's a technology enhanced classroom?
This is a classroom that allows the faculty to teach the lecture directly with students able to attend live or if they prefer, remotely to access the course. These classrooms allow students to have a live course taught by the faculty but watch remotely if the Columbia County is coded “Yellow” by the Governor. We have approximately 60 classrooms set up to allow a faculty member to teach traditionally with remote access.

Why did Bloomsburg decide to divide classes in to the sessions?
This was to maximize the amount of face-to-face instruction we could provide under social distancing rules. In addition, students were concerned about trying to complete a full semester online if Columbia County was returned to “Red” status. This allows multiple stop and start points to reduce the load.

Does this mean I don’t have classes all semester?
It would be very unlikely for a student to only have classes in session 2 or 3. Students schedules will have a balance of session 1, 2 and 3 courses.