Spring 2021

Protecting the health of our community remains our top priority as we continue to monitor developments related to the pandemic and make plans for spring. We intend to resume in-person course instruction and operations in the spring semester if conditions allow, but are prepared to respond appropriately should circumstances require us to pivot back to more remote operations at any time.

Here's what you can expect.

Click on each of the links below to jump to more information. 

Watch our November town hall events and Q&As to learn more about spring 2021 operations (university credentials required).

Spring 2021 town halls



Increased Safety Measures

Campus Facilities
Facilities Services is taking a layered approach to campus safety and protection, employing physical distancing, mask requirements, and enhanced cleaning protocols, as well as physical barriers, fresh-air ventilation, and HVAC enhancements where applicable. Learn more about facilities cleaning and support. 

Any in-person classes for spring will abide by the university’s COVID-19 community health precautions. This means all students and faculty members must follow physical distancing mandates and wear face coverings during an entire class period. Also, classrooms will be sanitized between classes, and wipes will be available for faculty members and students in each classroom.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reviewed and endorsed our Dining and Conference Services safety procedures, which include eliminating self-serve food stations, providing hand sanitizer and contactless pay systems, physical distancing and barriers, gloves and masks worn by DCS staff members at all times, and more. 

Residence Life
Having reduced residence hall capacity by 25%, we anticipate being able to accommodate up to 1,300 students living on campus in the spring, and have reserved 44 rooms for students who may require isolation at any point during the semester. Common spaces, rooms, and restrooms have been modified in alignment with best health practices, including use of dividers between sinks, assigned restrooms, enhanced cleaning procedures, limits on visitors, and more. Students who have concerns about returning their campus residences are encouraged to review the following:

Working on Campus
In line with the COVID-19 Work on Campus Plan, all department heads are encouraged to work with their area vice president/provost to develop a departmental plan that meets student and institutional needs while also helping to achieve our goal of reducing the density of staff members on campus during the spring semester.


Testing Twice a Week

COVID-19 testing will be held five days a week. The test itself will be a saliva PCR test.

Our plan for spring:

  • Test all students on campus and student-facing faculty and staff members* twice a week.
  • Test other on-campus faculty and staff members once a week.
  • Campus members living, learning, and working remotely will not be required to get tested.

* Student-facing faculty and staff members include those offering in-person instruction and services, and/or those working on campus three or more days a week.


Academic Flexibility

Spring courses will be offered in online (remote), in-person, and hybrid modes. The course schedule for spring semester includes detailed information for each course on the mode of instruction, and students have received this information in advance of advising. 

Registration for spring 2021 begins Nov. 6 for graduate students and Nov. 9 for undergraduate students. Contact your faculty advisor, the Office of Academic Advising, or the Office of the Registrar if you have questions about spring course registration.


Keeping Tuition Lower

Individual student financial details will be forthcoming to families as part of the normal spring 2021 student billing process.

Full-time spring 2021 undergraduate tuition will be reduced to the amount charged in spring 2020 (a reduction of $1,025) with a comparable percentage reduction for graduate students. (This is the same reduction offered in fall 2020.)

Merit Awards
The full value of merit awards will be distributed, despite the reduction in the cost of attendance.

Extra Credits
Students may take up to five (5.0) total academic or activity credits in spring 2021 without incurring a course overload charge.

Attend Part Time and Keep Your Financial Aid
Students enrolling in two (2.0) units will receive 50% of their merit awards and a portion of their need-based Puget Sound grants.

Work Study
Information about work study is forthcoming, along with other details related to the spring semester. 


Adjustments to the Academic Calendar

The University Curriculum Committee, in coordination with the Faculty Senate, and the President’s Cabinet, approved the spring 2021 calendar, including a modified spring break, based on public health guidelines, student and faculty mental health and well-being, and pedagogy.
Jan. 15: New students move in to campus housing
Jan. 16–18: Returning students move in to campus housing  
Jan. 19: Classes begin
Feb. 18–19, Th/Fri (Week 5): No classes (spring break)
Mar. 29–30, M/T (Week 11): No classes (spring break)
Apr. 14, W (Week 13): No classes (spring break)
May 5: Classes end
May 6–7: Reading period
May 10–14: Exams
In order for students to arrive on campus, get tested, and quarantine while results are returned, all classes during the first week (Jan. 19–22) will be remote. In-person and hybrid teaching models will begin on Jan. 25.