Delayed Start for Winter 2021 Term

President Flanagan shares an update on Winter 2021, including that courses will begin on January 11, 2021 with some exceptions.

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I'd like to acknowledge that this has been a very challenging term for all of us, faculty, staff and students alike as we navigate the uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have all had to adjust to new ways of learning and working that respect public health and safety guidelines. In order to continue to adapt and support the university community, we have made an important decision to delay by one week the start date for the Winter 2021 term.

Winter 2021 courses will begin on January 11, 2021 with some exceptions. This start date currently aligns with the planned beginning of in-person learning for K-12 schools across the province. This change will provide students with more time to refresh from the Fall while preparing for their Winter courses. The university will officially resume regular (and largely remote) operations on January 4, with faculty and staff ready to support students and welcome them back to the classroom the following week.

This change will impact the timing of the Winter 2021 schedule. Please be sure to plan your upcoming term with the following adjustments in mind:

  • Winter 2021 Course Start Date: The majority of Winter 2021 courses will begin on January 11. There may be exceptions to this start date for some of our professional and health related programs, and courses with practicum/co-op opportunities. A detailed list of Winter 2021 start dates can be found here. Specific class start and end dates will also be available in Bear Tracks by mid-December.
  • Operational Winter Break: The university will be officially closed for the winter break on December 25, 2020 and will reopen, with regular - and largely remote - staffing and operations starting on January 4, 2021 as originally planned.
  • Winter Term Reading Week: Winter Reading Week will remain as originally scheduled for February 16-19, 2021 (March 3-5, 2021 for Augustana Faculty).
  • Winter 2021 Course End Date: With the delayed start of the term, the final day of classes will be extended by one week to April 16, 2021 to ensure that students receive the same hours of instruction over the term.
  • Winter Exam Schedule: The standard schedule of final exams will also be extended by one week to April 19 - April 30, 2021.

Although this extension will bring relief for some, it is by no means the only way for us to support one another. If you or someone you know may be struggling, please know the university's community of support is available; never hesitate to reach out. (Links to the various services available through the university are provided below.)

This fall semester has been exceptional. I am continuously heartened by the many shared stories of U of A students, instructors and support staff rising to and overcoming the challenges this chapter has brought us. We will continue to work together, and to support one another, as we navigate the uncertainties still ahead.

I wish you all the best as exams and the end of fall term approach. To that end, I would also like to take this opportunity to urge everyone to review their weeks ahead and create as much flexible space as possible in your own and your team's work and study schedules - in particular between December 21 and January 8. We encourage you to cancel or consolidate meetings and emails to give each other more flexibility in how we use this time. Let's take time away from our screens, and come back together again in January renewed and refreshed.


Bill Flanagan
President & Vice-chancellor

Resources and links:Resources and links:

Mental Health Supports (students)

Healthy Mind Supports (faculty and staff)

Updated Winter Schedule


Office of the Dean of Students

Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research

International Student Services

Student Connect