It’s the end of the semester already?!?

As Hamline nears the end of another semester, the topic of winter break is different this year than last.

Anika Besst, News Editor

As Hamline nears the end of the fall semester, discussions have started regarding the plan after the University experienced an unprecedented end of semester in fall of 2020. 

Unlike last year, students can come back after Thanksgiving break. In the 2020-21 school year, the end of the semester was held virtually to allow for any outbreaks post-Thanksgiving to be kept at bay. 

“This end-of-semester transition is actually quite a reprieve. Last year, for example, the halls all closed for Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, and J-Term, including the apartments. That was kind of a pain for everyone, because it was almost like three separate phases of planning from a logistics standpoint,” Neva Miller, Lead Student Assistant in Residential Life wrote in an email.  

The only time the campus will be shut down is from December 17 to January 1. Students applying to live on campus throughout this time must fill out the application by December 1. In order to live on campus during this time, undergraduate students must be registered in the spring as full-time status, with at least 12 credits. 

“This year, we only have a relatively short window that the dorms are closed: the Friday of finals week until the day before J-Term begins,” Miller wrote. “This is more of a return to how the University usually operates during breaks.” 

There is a $150 fee to live in residence halls for any part of the winter break, while the houses and Hamline apartments do not have that fee since they remain open. (Residence halls include Manor, Osborn, Peterson, Schilling and Sorin.) Those interested in staying at either the apartments or houses during this time still need to fill out the form. 

International students are one population that usually stays on campus throughout the Thanksgiving break and parts of winter break. Julia Mayer is an international student from Germany and is trying to determine her plan for the next few weeks. 

It would be rather complicated, time-consuming and expensive to go back home…I don’t have any relatives here, my dorm is kind of the only place where I could stay. I mean I would like to travel, and I will definitely do that, but right after the semester ended and shortly before Christmas, it would be nice if I didn’t have to worry about where to stay,” Mayer wrote in an email. “Even though I could pay the fee and stay in my dorm, all the food areas are closed. And also my possibilities to cook are limited. So, I will end up spending the winter break off campus but I don’t know where yet.” 

Many international students echo this concern as we near these breaks. 

“It’s not supportive from Hamline at all to international students like me. My Japanese friends who only stay here for one semester will ask for permission to [extend] the time to stay in their dorms until they leave the country,” Mayer wrote. 

As for COVID-19, Miller explained Hamline is following the MDH and CDC’s guidelines. If someone is sick, has tested positive with COVID-19 or has been exposed, they should not travel even if they are vaccinated. 

“We’re lucky that Hamline has required vaccinations for all students and staff, but when it comes to travelling, it’s always a good idea to get tested upon returning to campus anyway. We remind students to stay home, get tested and fill out the reporting form if they develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19,” Miller wrote. 

This year, Hamline did not decide on going virtual for the end of the semester. Last year, the COVID-19 vaccine was not an option yet so Hamline, like most of the world, was reliant on masking, social-distancing and hand hygiene. As it got colder, less events could function outside causing the possibility of virus-spreading to increase while indoors. 

We ended up going virtual for the entire Thanksgiving week and afterwards for students.  This was based on guidance from Minn Dept. of Health and based on our Hamline cases,” Dean of Students Patti Kersten wrote in an email. “We did not make the same plan this year; however, we have always been ready to pivot online if needed. Our campus, specifically our students have done a very good job with masking, vaccination status and overall following COVID mitigation strategies to keep our number of cases low enough to continue to be in person all semester, this is constantly reviewed.”

To apply for winter break housing, fill out this form: