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story.lead_photo.caption FILE: The columns at Westminster College are shown.

Six weeks before the end of fall semester, Westminster College announced changes in its planned spring semester schedule.

David Roebuck, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, detailed the alterations in a letter posted online.

"I want to let you know about changes to the upcoming spring term resulting from the ongoing pandemic," he wrote. "We have been following health and safety guidelines provided by all levels of government as well as those of private health organizations. We are also taking advantage of the lessons learned during the spring and summer as we planned for the fall semester in addition to all we have learned as this term progressed."

Major changes include:

-The first day of classes will be moved from Jan. 11 to Jan. 20.

-The President's Day Holiday scheduled for Feb. 12 will be cancelled.

-A long weekend will be added, likely on March 26-28.

-Spring Break will be cancelled.

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A five-week "Winter Term" will be added from Nov. 30 to Jan. 1, at the cost of $250 per credit hour.

Final exams, commencement, and the Columns Ceremony will remain as scheduled unless circumstances change, Roebuck added.

The changes are designed to minimize the likelihood of someone leaving campus and then returning after traveling great distances and being exposed to the virus. The college also hopes to avoid more of the flu season by extending winter break.

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