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NVU Announces Early Start to Fall Semester

Northern Vermont University will begin the fall semester on Tuesday, August 18, one week earlier than planned, and end early with residential students returning home for Thanksgiving break and remote exams to complete the semester. This change to the academic calendar will best position NVU and its students, employees, and communities—in the event of an increase in COVID-19 cases or another wave in the fall.

“We know this is different from our normal semester,” says NVU President Elaine Collins. “The health of the entire NVU community is our number one priority as we prepare to return to campus for face-to-face instruction.”

Fall Orientation and campus move-in dates will stagger between August 14-17, allowing students the time and space they need to re-enter residence halls safely. Details about orientation and move-in will be announced as plans are finalized.

The accelerated semester includes no breaks, with instruction on Labor Day and throughout October. Students will exit residence halls on Friday, November 20, and return to campus when the spring semester begins on January 19, 2021. Remote final exams will be held November 30 through December 3.  Students should plan to be off campus November 21, 2020 through January 18, 2021.

The adjusted fall semester will not affect the number of teaching and learning days. Students and faculty will have ample time to collaborate, create, and thrive in and out of the classroom. 

NVU invites students within Vermont’s borders and beyond to consider NVU as an option to a gap year. With two rural campuses at Johnson and Lyndon and 19 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs offered through NVU Online, the university can help students keep their college degree plans on track when plans have changed due to the pandemic. On-campus and NVU Online degree programs and classes are available. Information is at

“To prepare for potential scenarios caused by COVID-19, NVU faculty and staff are prepping for a variety of approaches to remote instruction,” says Provost Nolan Atkins. “We are going to be ready so we can support our students in case remote instruction becomes necessary for individual students, a class here or there, or for the university as a whole. We are also doing all we can during the pandemic to offer an on-campus fall semester and the early start to the academic year is a part of that.”

First-year students will be introduced to campus life through virtual SOAR (summer orientation) events starting July 1. Incoming students and families should visit to learn more and register for upcoming virtual events. 

NVU Online, NVU’s distance learning program, will start as planned on August 31 and proceed through the semester as scheduled. Those interested in NVU’s online programs should visit

NVU community members should expect updates on the accelerated semester, move-in dates, events, and more during the next two months as planning continues.