AU Committed to Viking Flex Plan for January Interim, Spring Semester 2021
Augustana University announced today that it will continue with its Viking Flex Plan for its January Interim and Spring Semester 2021. The hybrid/flexible approach, which includes both face-to-face and virtual components to most courses, was first introduced at the beginning of the 2020-21 Academic Year and fall semester on Wednesday, August 26.
President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said, "We began the fall semester with optimism. The Scenario Planning Taskforce and Viking Flex working groups invested countless hours in research, collaboration and consultation with community partners, while also integrating public health recommendations. The #ForAU campaign was launched in August to reinforce the required health and safety protocols. The Augustana community has embraced the plan, demonstrating care for one another and a commitment to success. The knowledge gained in the past weeks has further informed modest adjustments for the January term and spring semester. We proceed with continued optimism."
January Interim, also known as J-Term, will begin on Tuesday, January 5, with both in-person and online courses that will still allow for innovative course engagement, creative projects, as well as a safe and successful finish for course instruction on Thursday, January 28.
As part of the Viking Flex Plan, Augustana will begin its spring semester as originally planned with in-person classes on Wednesday, February 3. The plan involves combining Augustana’s Easter and spring breaks, now scheduled to take place from Saturday, March 27, through Monday, April 5, with classes set to resume on April 6. The last day of course instruction for Spring Semester 2021 will be Thursday, May 13, with final exams set to conclude on Thursday, May 20.
The Viking Flex Plan will continue to emphasize in-person learning while following Augustana’s mask policy, physical distancing guidelines, as well as quarantine and isolation protocols, recommended by the South Dakota Department of Health (SD-DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Augustana’s ongoing success with this plan continues to depend on the cooperation of its entire community and its commitment to the university’s Viking Flex Health and Safety Pledge.
“While acknowledging that we've had a limited number of positive COVID-19 cases on campus and we anticipate seeing more, the early success of the Viking Flex Plan made it an easy decision to continue our hybrid/flexible approach to course delivery with a focus on in-person learning into J-term and spring semester,” said Scenario Planning Task Force Chair and Director of International Programs & Enrollment Ben Iverson. “We've proven during the first few weeks of fall semester that the Viking Flex Plan is working. Viking Flex was intentionally designed to be flexible. We're learning and adapting as we go and will no doubt encounter some bumps or even detours ahead as knowledge about the virus and local conditions change.”
Augustana’s Risk Assessment Team continues to meet weekly to discuss, identify and implement precautionary measures to prevent the spread of illness and respond effectively to fluid conditions, created by the ongoing health crisis.
About the Viking Flex Plan
The Viking Flex Plan was developed by an 18-member Scenario Planning Task Force, which was charged with evaluating various scenarios for operating in Academic Year 2020-21 amid ongoing uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The task force has prioritized the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff while applying careful consideration to how the physical spaces and interactive culture of the campus community can be modified to accommodate the current situation and fulfill the university’s mission of providing an education of enduring worth.
For more detailed information and updates related to the Viking Flex Plan, please visit augie.edu/VikingFlex.
For information and resources related to COVID-19, visit augie.edu/coronavirus.
Media Inquiries: Contact Jill Wilson, public relations and communications strategist.