Fall 2021 Updates

Thank you to all students, faculty and staff for their ongoing adherence to our community health guidelines. During the Fall 2020 semester, more than 50,000 TopperSafe screenings were completed, and the university did not see any cases of campus-based or co-curricular transmission of Covid-19. 

For Fall 2021, the university is planning for increased on-campus capacity. The majority of classes will be held in-person, and all students can expect to have on-campus, in-person classes. (Fully online graduate programs are not impacted.)

Registration for Fall 2021 on-campus housing will begin in February and will be open to all students. Physical distancing will continue to be in place, and students will have single rooms with no more than two students sharing a bathroom. 

Students and families will be well-informed of specific academic plans before course registration for Fall 2021, which begins in early April. 

The university remains committed to the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff. We continue to work with our team of medical advisors on safety precautions for Fall 2021. The university plans on expanding on-campus health services, as well as implementing asymptomatic Covid-19 testing. We are also working with regional health providers on general vaccine access for the campus community.

We pledge to keep students and families well-informed via Healthy Hilltop as plans for the new academic year develop.


TopperSafe screenings


contact trace rate


cases of campus-based
or co-curricular transmission


Student Choice for Spring 2021 

The university’s goal throughout all pandemic-related disruptions has been for students to remain on schedule for their graduation, while providing safe, personalized and vibrant experiences. We continue to rely on national, state and regional data about Covid-19 transmission rates, healthcare access and contact tracing, and we work with medical advisors to provide the best combination of virtual and in-person curricular and co-curricular programs. Classes for undergraduate students will begin Tuesday, January 19, and spring break is being eliminated for this year only. (The schedule for graduate students remains unaffected.) 

Undergraduate Schedule Updates

Registration Begins Nov 11

Spring semester begins Jan. 19


3 student wellness days


No spring break

More Details

  • The start of the spring semester will be delayed by one week (undergraduate only) to allow additional time for Covid testing for students, faculty and staff returning to campus.
  • The majority of courses for Spring 2021 will continue to be offered virtually, with some in-person and hybrid courses, similar to the fall semester. The modality of each spring course will be available mid-October so students have time to determine spring housing. 
  • The university is working to expand the number of approved individuals to gather on-campus. 
  • Spring break will be removed from the academic calendar to preserve health and safety and will be replaced with three wellness days dispersed throughout the semester, based on student feedback. With the majority of students on campus or in the Austin region, it is critical that we do not create a large super-spreading event following the return of spring break.
  • Easter break has been condensed and will now only include Good Friday (April 2). Classes after 4 p.m. on Holy Thursday (April 1) are canceled. Classes will be in session on Monday, April 5.
  • The semester will end as scheduled on May 3.
Student graduation

Commencement Update

St. Edward’s University will celebrate Commencement for the Class of 2021 and 2020 in May 2021 with current plans that include an in-person graduation experience in alignment with all relevant health and safety protocols. An additional update on our Commencement plans will be shared by university leadership by April 5, 2021.

Our Ongoing Commitment 

On Campus Icon

On-Campus Experiences

  • Convenience and flexibility of online classes with holistic on-campus community support, services and selected activities
  • Outdoor and physically distanced in-person meet-ups between students and faculty members, as possible
  • Physically distanced in-person activities that allow for more interpersonal experiences in and out of the classroom
Online Icon

Virtual Experiences 

  • Superior virtual experiences that are only found at St. Edward’s, such as student projects that foster creative and critical-thinking and continuation of co-curricular activities and programming
  • Prioritization of faculty-student engagement across disciplines and courses, such as small group faculty-led discussions and one-on-one mentoring
  • Focus on degree progress and a pathway to graduation without disruption

Our Planning Structure

The university’s Covid-19 planning is led by the Risk and Emergency Management Team (REMT), university leaders who guide the safety and planning of all university issues related to any emergency, including a global pandemic. The team is led by vice presidents and reports to the university president. Eight cross-campus workgroups consist of faculty and staff who are experts in their respective fields. In addition, the workgroups incorporate student input through surveys and focus groups. 

St. Edward’s University is extending its expertise by working with a panel of medical advisors. A core team of physicians and other subject-matter experts are assisting the university with student and staff training, risk assessment, and policy changes. Dr. Nick van Terheyden, former chief medical officer for Dell, and Fred Goldstein, an expert in population health at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, lead the team of advisors. 

Updated Jan. 13, 2021