Changes to the Academic Calendar

  • Spring Semester Registration: Students will be able to view the spring schedule in MyMadison on Friday, October 30. Students may register by appointment between November 6 and November 12.
  • Expanded Winter Sessions: There will be three winter sessions with more online options:
    • Winter Session One: January 4-January 8 (one week)
    • Winter Session Two: January 4-January 15 (two weeks)
    • Winter Session Three: January 11-January 15 (one week)
  • New Spring Semester Start Date: Spring semester will begin one week later than originally planned, with classes starting on Tuesday, January 19. University offices will open with regular hours on Monday, January 4.
  • Spring Break Changes: To help curb the spread of COVID-19 caused by travel, and as recommended by medical professionals, there will not be a week-long Spring Break in March. Instead, there will be two days within the semester on which classes will not meet but university offices will remain open. In addition, the university will be closed as originally planned on Friday, March 12. There will be no classes on:
    • February 17, Wednesday (University offices open)
    • March 12, Friday (University Holiday, offices closed)
    • April 8, Thursday (University offices open)
  • Exam Schedule: The semester will end as planned, with April 29 as the last day of classes. Exams remain scheduled for April 30-May 6.
  • Spring Commencement: Spring graduation activities will remain May 6-8, pending any necessary changes that become apparent as we approach that date.
  • Summer Schedule: The schedule for summer sessions is currently under review, and it will be available in spring 2021.
  • View the updated academic calendar here.

Classrooms and Learning Environments


Some students returning to campus will need to arrange online accommodations for an in-person course based on an Office of Disability Services-approved Access Plan or for required periods of COVID-related quarantine or isolation. Instructors should work with these students to determine a reasonable accommodation that enables the student to proceed in the course. For more information about Access Plans, contact the Office of Disability Services online or at 568-6705.

In-Person Course Meetings

  • Everyone must wear a mask at all times in all academic buildings while in the presence of others. If an individual is alone in their office with the door closed, they do not have to wear a mask.
  • Faculty must wear masks at all times while teaching, even when behind plexiglass barriers.
  • When classes resume in person, meetings will be limited to 50 students or fewer. No class meeting will have more than 50 students in a single room. A class may maintain a higher enrollment if there are detailed plans to prevent 50+ students from gathering in person at once.
  • Extra desks in many classrooms have been removed to improve navigation between seats and increase physical distancing.

Events, Meetings and Gatherings

The university wants to help students build connections and community in the safest ways possible. An important part of the JMU experience happens when students can meet each other and build lasting relationships. We will support gathering when it can be done safely, as detailed below.

On and off-campus social gatherings where students are not social distancing or wearing masks have been the main spreader of this virus. The spread is further exacerbated when these gatherings are held indoors. The established 10 person rule for social gatherings is designed to limit these types of events and their impacts on individuals and our community.

Gatherings should be limited to the same individuals, including those students who live together, across all social gatherings on and off campus rather than a rotating group of individuals. The virus will spread easily through a community of students if they are gathering in groups without masks and are not physically distancing. See Social Bubbles for information about forming your group.

Student organizations should work with the Student Life staff to answer any questions about their planned meetings and events. Organizations must receive approval before hosting anything. Additional guidance on hosting approved meetings and events is below.

On-Campus Meeting and Event Guidance

To reduce the risk of the potential spread of COVID-19, meetings and events will be conducted virtually whenever possible. When meetings and events need to be in person, it is important that all guests wear a mask, maintain appropriate physical distance and follow all public health protocols. There are also capacity and attendance limits that apply that are specific to the type and location of the gathering.

On-Campus Indoor Meetings and Events

In-person meetings and events on campus will be limited according to the restrictions of the Governor’s Executive Orders. Meetings and events on campus, not including residents’ rooms, will not exceed 50% of a room’s capacity or up to 50 people (whichever is less). Residential rooms should be limited to the residents of that room or residents of the suite. No guests from outside the residence hall are allowed into the building or residents’ rooms.

On-Campus Outdoor Meetings and Events

Outdoor meetings and events on campus should not exceed 50 people. Outdoor events are preferred because research has shown the virus is harder to spread outside, especially when attendees are physically distancing and wearing masks. Events that are traditionally hosted indoors will be transitioned to outdoor spaces or virtually whenever possible.

Social Bubbles

Students should identify a small group of individuals (9 people or fewer) to spend time with while at JMU. This group should be committed to maintaining each other’s health. Group members should be guided by trust, good communication, and expectations that individuals in the group remain consistent in their approach to avoiding the virus. Every member should practice good physical distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing when they are around each other and other people, during group interaction and when members engage outside of the group.

Establishing - and encouraging students to establish - a social bubble will allow them to build community, contributing positively to the mental health of all students. However, it is important that students engage in their social bubbles safely and maintain proper safety precautions when interacting with others as the virus can spread even in these small groups.

Guests to Campus

Students are discouraged from bringing guests to campus during the spring semester. We know students have friends who want to visit, but we ask that those visits not happen this spring. We also want to discourage students from travelling outside of Harrisonburg as much as possible. A reason for the cancellation of spring break is to limit student travel out of the area and returning to potentially negatively impact the JMU community.

Face Coverings

Refer to the Face Covering FAQs.

Food and Dining Services

Winter Sessions

Select Dining operations will be open for sales using cash, credit, dining dollars, dining dollars gold and flex beginning January 4.  Operation hours can be found on 

Spring Semester

JMU Dining will begin opening locations for spring semester on January 15, and the hours of operation will be available at beginning January 11.

COVID-19 policies will still be in effect, including mandatory masks in all locations except while actively eating or drinking. Anyone socializing in any dining locations and not actively eating or drinking must wear a mask. Entrants will also be required to show their LiveSafe verification checks at highly populated dining locations.

Dining Services will be operational on days that classes are cancelled.

Flu Shots

We strongly encourage all students who have not yet gotten their flu shot this year to do so before returning to campus. Influenza activity is at its peak during the winter, and the flu shot is an effective way to protect yourself and others in our community.

Quarantine and Isolation Protocols

JMU identified several on-campus residence halls and other properties to maximize quarantine and isolation space. The university is planning to have isolation and quarantine beds equal to 10% of our on-campus population.

Student Quarantine Protocols

Student Isolation Protocols


Students expecting a refund related to the fall 2020 semester will see the pending credit posted to their student account by Monday, October 26.

Residence Life

Returning to the Residence Halls

New students moving into the residence halls will move in on Friday, January 15.  Returning students can move in anytime starting Saturday, January 16.  More information will be sent directly to all residential students prior to the start of the semester.

Surveillance Testing

Surveillance Testing will continue in the spring semester. This testing program is for on-campus students. We will test groups of individuals who are assumed to be healthy in order to make predictions of the COVID-19 spread within our community.

We will continue to test 300 students per week. Students will be chosen for testing days using random stratified testing methodology. This is the same as the fall semester testing strategy. This testing is not intended for individuals who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days. Students may be randomly selected for testing more than once throughout the semester. Notifications will include instructions for scheduling testing appointments, a list of potential reasons for exemption and day-of-test information.

Full compliance is expected. Response and participation in the Surveillance Testing Program is included in our Spring 2021 Stop the Spread Agreement. The university reserves the right to place a hold on a student’s account for noncompliance. Holds will be removed after the student submits proof of a COVID-19 test or requests removal due to an approved exemption.

Upon return to campus in January, JMU will test 1,200 students in the first two weeks. This is approximately 20% of the on-campus student population, which will allow JMU to get ahead of any potential outbreaks.

Spring 2021 testing procedures will mirror the fall 2020 protocol. FAQs and more information are available online. Testing dates and notification timeline will be updated for Spring 2021 prior to the semester break.

Symptom Tracking and Contact Tracing Apps

All members of the community must complete the self-monitoring on the LiveSafe app daily before they leave their residence hall or enter campus. All JMU offices, dining halls, libraries, facilities and UREC will be regularly asking students to show their green check mark illustrating that they are symptom-free. In addition, faculty members will be asking students to show their green check mark as part of on-campus classes, where possible and appropriate. Detailed information on the LiveSafe app is available online.

In addition, all members of the community should download the COVIDWISE app to assist in contact tracing. This app is more effective if large numbers of our community have it downloaded and active on their phones so it can better track any contacts individuals have with those who have tested positive.

Stop the Spread Agreement

Students will be expected to sign the Stop the Spread Agreement prior to the beginning of the spring semester. This will be included in the MyMadison Check-in Process that all students must complete. Students must sign the Stop the Spread agreement by January 13.

Stop the Spread HELPline

If you have questions and can’t readily find the answer in our FAQs, call the Stop the Spread HELPline, which is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The toll-free number is 888-886-3131.

The HELPline will be available through November 20 and will resume for the first two weeks of the spring semester, January 19-29.

Many of your questions can be answered here. JMU also will be answering questions sent to, and you can submit questions via a form on the Stop the Spread site.


Any students who are new to the JMU community will need to complete the Stop the Spread training prior to coming to campus. These students will be emailed the week prior and reminded to complete this training. The training requirement must be completed by January 13. Successful completion of this requirements includes the completion of the training and a passing score on the quiz. The university reserves the right to place a hold on a student’s account for noncompliance.

University Health Center

Weekend Hours

The University Health Center will continue to provide limited services on the weekends with the primary goal of following up on COVID-19 test results to identify students who need to be in isolation or quarantine. Weekend testing capability will be determined based on need, which will be dependent on the nature of viral spread within the JMU community.


The University Health Center is able to conduct over 100 tests every weekday for members of the JMU community. These include rapid antigen and PCR tests (as clinically indicated) and specimens for PCR analysis from our reference lab.


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