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UD's winter session will be more crowded this year

Delaware Public Media

Blue Hens are flocking to winter session at the University of Delaware.

Winter session is typically smaller than fall or spring, but this year it's seeing an enrollment spike.

Enrollment in the usually smaller winter session at UD is going to be significantly higher this year, due to the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Usually, only around 7,000 students stick around for the short winter session in between Fall and Spring semesters. This year, enrollment has jumped 140%, to over 10,000 students.

UD President Dennis Assanis told the school’s UD Board of Trustees Tuesday night this shows how successful the use of online learning has been.

“What it does point out to me though is years after this, why don’t we make every year be a winter semester like this," said Assanis. "We can, using online education and that’s the right thing to do for students so they can graduate in four years. We can lead more students through the University of Delaware through to the finish line.”

Assanis says a big reason there’s so many more students is the free credits the university gave to students in the fall to use in winter or summer sessions. He says almost 100 percent of undergraduates are taking advantage of those free credits.

The university also plans to ramp up its testing program for the spring semester.  Assanis expects it to grow from around 2,000 tests per week to 6,000.

“We feel this number gives us a much larger volume of people to work with , the 6000 tests, so that we can bring more students and residents during the spring, we can have more face to face classes as the pandemic allows us," Assanis said.

Everyone on campus will be required to get tested once per week.

Assanis notes the university plans to increase resident hall capacity from 20 percent to 60 percent in the spring.

He adds testing is the only way to keep the campus safe this spring, since most students and faculty may not get a coronavirus vaccine until late spring/early summer.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.