Luther College has announced a temporary shift to online learning during the first part of the second fall quarter,  which immediately follows the Thanksgiving break (Nov. 21-29, 2020).

“Our revised 2020-21 academic calendar anticipated the possibility of an additional wave of the pandemic in the falland/or winter. This additional wave is now occurring," said President Jenifer K. Ward. “We are shifting to a period of online learning for the protection of the Luther and Decorah communities.The temporary shift to online learning will reduce in-person interactions, reducing the chances of spreading COVID-19 on campus.”

The opening weeks of the second fall quarter are Monday, Nov. 30-Tuesday, Dec. 22, a period of time bookendedby two major holidays, when many students have travel plans. During this time period, students have the option to engage in online learning from their homes, thus reducing travel to and from campus. Students also have the option to remain in residence on campus during this entire period. Luther has seen relatively few cases of COVID-19 among its students and employees compared to other colleges in this region.

The college defines its operations according to a system of COVID-19 indicators and alert levels; since Oct. 23, the college has been at Alert Level 2 Teal: Increased Exposure and Spread. However, the college recognized the need to add preemptive protective measures, considering the rising number of COVID-19 indicatorscoupled with the regional and national case level increases and holiday travel.Students are being asked to identify their residency plans to their residence hall directors, so that the college will have a count of how many students will remain in residence in Decorah.

Following the winter break of Dec. 23-Jan. 3, the college intends that classes will resume in an in-person format, starting on Monday, Jan. 4, and that students will be back in residence in Decorah. If the trajectory of the pandemic requires a change in plans, this will be announced to students in the latter part of December.

In a message to the campus community about the temporary pivot to online learning, President Ward wrote, “I have promised you from the beginning that we will aim for flexibility and adaptation in light of prevailing conditions.Come what may, I want you to know that I am aware of the inconvenience, workload, and emotional whiplash thatcomes with this kind of flexibility, as we attempt to fulfill the mission of our residential college in a time of great challenge."