Scheduling changes approved for 2021-2022 school year

Ryan Clark, Reporter

The University of Chicago is shortening instructional periods and modifying Exam Week as part of new schedule changes that Provost Ka Yee C. Lee announced Feb. 26 in an email message to the community. Administrators are working to determine how the changes will affect the high school, although U-High will retain its semester system, according to Laboratory Schools Director Charlie Abelmann.

Effective Fall 2021, coursework and exams for university students will conclude by June 1, and quarterly instructional periods will be nine weeks rather than 9½ weeks. A new three-day reading period will extend from the Saturday of the final instructional week to the Monday of Exam Week before professors give exams from the following Tuesday to Friday. University breaks will also change to create a week-long Thanksgiving break and a three-week September term with reduced course offerings.

While the 2019 Thanksgiving break for U-High was one week long, the 2020 Thanksgiving break will be shorter, Nov. 25-27, despite the changes to the university schedule. 

Dr. Abelmann said that the Laboratory Schools may consider a week-long Thanksgiving break for the 2021-22 school year in light of the provost’s announcement.

The Laboratory Schools will continue seeking to align its breaks with university breaks, but the start and end date of the school year may differ from the university’s once the altered September term is introduced.

“We’re working with the university to get more details and ask about the implications for what we do and how we do it,” Mr. Abelmann said. “Some of the other changes, like the start of the school year, are less clear because we already don’t start when the university starts.”

The university’s changes are the result of recommendations from a committee comprised of university faculty, academic staff and students. That committee outlined its recommendations in a report, which they released online.

In the email, Dr. Lee said the changes would align the schedule better with summer opportunities and improve the coordination of the spring term.