Iowa State University will begin its fall semester on Aug. 17, and end the semester before Thanksgiving as it continues to work to keep students and faculty safe during the coronavirus pandemic. “We are making every effort to maximize in-person learning and the student learning experiences that are a defining characteristic of an Iowa State education,” ISU President Wendy Wintersteen said in a news release. “Adjusting the calendar will allow us to complete the semester before Thanksgiving and minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 due to holiday travel.” The plans were announced today in a letter to the university community. They include holding classes on Labor Day, reconfiguring classrooms and courses to reduce the number of students in class and on campus at any one time, plans for virus testing and contact tracing, and expectations that students and faculty will wear face masks and follow physical distancing and hygiene guidelines. The university moved to online-only classes after spring break and finished the semester virtually, canceling in-person commencement and holding spring graduations online.