Preparing for Fall Semester 2020

July 24, 2020

To: All PNW Students

From: Kenneth C. Holford, Provost and Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs

As we prepare to welcome you back to the Purdue Northwest campuses and classes, I am pleased to share important information that will help you get ready for the fall semester. Our goal is to ensure you continue to gain the enriching experiences you expect from a PNW education this fall. Your faculty are preparing to offer engaging learning experiences whether you take courses in face-to-face, hybrid, virtual or 100% online formats.

We have spent the last four months preparing extensively for the fall semester. The Safe Return to Campus Task Force has assessed all aspects of the pandemic’s impact to the higher education environment, and is providing recommendations guided by best practices and recommended protocols from the CDC and other public health officials.

Here are key details for students as you prepare for fall semester:

  • Updates to the course schedule are complete. If you are registered for fall, you will receive an email directly from the Registrar’s office next week.
  • If you are not yet registered, I encourage you to check the online schedule where you can  browse courses, view the updated formats, instructors and locations. Your advisors will work with you to make your selections and answer any questions. You can schedule an appointment at your convenience.
  • As previously announced, PNW plans to start the fall semester, as scheduled, on Aug. 24 and will have the usual breaks for Labor Day (Sept. 7), Fall Break (Oct. 12-13) and Thanksgiving Break (Nov. 25-28). Finals week is Dec. 14-19.
  • Before classes start, you are required to complete a short learning module in Brightspace that will remind all of us of our collective responsibilities to help keep ourselves and our community healthy and safe. The training, which should be posted to your Brightspace home page around July 27, will cover proper area sanitization practices, proper hand washing and how to safely wear a face covering.
  • Face coverings are required on campus, which is a PNW protocol. You will be provided two reusable cloth face coverings during New Student Orientation or the Welcome Week Pride Pick-Up events. If you do not receive your face coverings by the end of the first week of classes, please contact In addition, disposable face coverings are available on campus.
  • Things will look a little different on campus when you return. Social distancing has become the regular and safest practice, for the foreseeable future, and PNW has adjusted public spaces to keep our community as safe as possible. Please follow signs regarding proper use of elevators, stairwells, doorways and hallway passing areas carefully, to maintain safe social distancing.
  • Classrooms, dining areas, bathrooms, and public spaces will be regularly cleaned and disinfected. PNW has instituted COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting protocols. All campus community members will be asked to take part in minimizing the risk of exposure and helping prevent the spread of disease. Disinfectant wipes will be provided in every classroom so that faculty members and students can wipe down their own spaces prior to use to help ensure the safest possible environment for everyone.
  • Hand sanitizer stations have been added throughout the campuses. Many water fountains have been turned off, although you will find some “bottle filler” stations operating.
  • As an additional measure to protect health and safety, PNW will be adding a pre-screening application to the PNW mobile app or directly at this link. Using the PNW Daily Self Screen function via the PNW app on a smartphone, you can screen yourself for symptoms of COVID-19, and are asked to not come to campus if you have any symptom, even if mild. If you do not have the PNW mobile app on your phone, it is free to use and available for download.
  • Housing has an extensive plan for keeping residents safe. Students who have rooms reserved in University Village for fall are receiving information about room assignments and move-in. We also have a plan for quarantine and isolation of residential students should the need arise.
  • If you encounter any issues, please contact the Student Advocate in the Office of the Dean of Students, who can assist you.

Keep checking your PNW email and the university’s COVID-19 Student Guide for updates. I hope you are planning to participate in the innovative Welcome Week activities planned by the Office of Student Life.

If you have questions or concerns, please use the Feedback Form on the website, which can be submitted anonymously if you wish, or send questions to and we will be sure you receive a response.

Together, we are Powering Onward toward a very successful fall semester!

Kenneth C. Holford, Provost and Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs