Colleges nationwide cancel spring break. Students are NOT happy.
- Many schools and universities have started planning for the spring semester, with some institutions already making the decision to cancel spring break amid coronavirus concerns.
- The University of Kentucky, Ohio State University and the University of Florida are among the colleges that have made this decision so far.
Colleges across the country are canceling spring break amid fears of the coronavirus spreading from students who travel. Some universities have compensated for these changes by extending winter breaks, or by providing students with a couple of “no-class days.”
Students across the country have responded to these announcements in different ways.
Some students have started petitions to “bring back spring break.”
Here’s a list of some of the top schools scrapping spring breaks:
1. Baylor University
Baylor University took action to cancel its traditional spring break and other school holidays amid concerns over the coronavirus. On its website, it was announced that winter break would be extended by a week to provide students with a 14-day quarantine period following family gatherings over the Christmas and New Year holiday.
"This period also provides the option for a potential pre-semester COVID-19 testing program for students, faculty, and staff, similar to what was completed in advance of the Fall semester," the school said.
The school’s provost also announced that students will attend classes on “Diadeloso,” which is traditionally a day for Baylor students to have a break from classes and participate in outdoor activities. The university will still observe Good Friday on April 2 by giving students the day off.
2. Iowa public universities
The University of Iowa and Iowa State University have announced their plans to cancel spring break in 2021.
The University of Iowa will begin its spring semester one week later than planned, stating “this change was made in consideration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the ability to maintain the same number of instruction days while starting one week later.”
Iowa State University will begin its spring semester two weeks later than planned instead of having a spring break. The school will also be offering an “online winter session” of classes between December 14 and January 21 to allow for students “to work ahead in meeting their graduation requirements, helping them graduate on time, as well as keep their minds sharp over the longer winter break.”
3. Ohio State
The Ohio State University announced changes to its 2020-2021 academic calendar, which excludes a spring break in 2021 and instead, includes two days of “instructional breaks.”
According to ABC 6, in an email sent to students, faculty, and staff, Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce McPheron said “there will be no spring break. Instead, there will be two instructional breaks — on Tuesday, Feb. 9, and Wednesday, March 31 — where there will be no classes. This approach will keep our community together throughout the semester and reduce travel-related exposures.”
OSU students created a petition in an effort to “Bring back Spring Break at Ohio State.”
4. Purdue University
Students at Purdue University will not have a spring break next year, the school announced.
"[t]o allow for this later start and to minimize mass travel to and from campus during the semester, the customary spring break period has been eliminated," the university announced.
Like other schools, the spring semester will start later than originally planned. Students will also be given three reading days throughout the course of the semester “to give faculty and students a brief respite from instruction to permit them to focus on their preparation and check their understanding of materials.”
5. University of Florida
The University of Florida Faculty Senate approved the plan to cancel spring break by approving the measure with 79 percent voting in favor on September 17. Instead, the school will extend winter break by one week, thus pushing the start of the spring semester back. In an email sent to students on September 18, the proposed change to the academic calendar still needs to be approved by the UF administration.
The email also noted that “should a spike in cases occur this winter as some experts predict, an extra week of break in January may provide more time for the surge to subside. Finally, should a vaccine become available this fall, the additional winter break time would allow more students to receive it.”
Students have already begun to express concerns with the plan, creating a petition to move spring break back to the original date.
“Changing spring break from March to January creates a semester that has little to no time off at all, and this is unhealthy for student, faculty and staff mental well being. We are already going home for Winter Break, what do they expect this change to do?” the petition reads.
6. University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky, with combined efforts from the Senate Council and the Senate Council Chair, approved a new academic calendar that does not include a spring break.
In an announcement posted to the university’s website, the plan explains that “the idea is to compress the academic calendar and to encourage students to stay on campus as much as possible, once they arrive at UK for the spring semester. More specifically, the revised calendar creates a condensed semester in which students remain engaged in coursework on campus, rather than potentially traveling to other regions and returning to Lexington, which would increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.”
Students will instead receive an “Academic Holiday” on March 26.
7. University of Tennessee
This is in an effort “to reduce the potential for travel-related spread of COVID-19.”
Students will start the spring semester at UT one week later than planned, but will attend classes during their previously scheduled spring break (March 15-19) and on their no-class day (April 9).
8. University of Wisconsin-Madison
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate voted in favor of canceling spring break. Instead, students would be given an extended winter break and three days of no classes, including March 27 (Passover), April 2, and April 3.
In the proposal document, the faculty senate voiced concerns “that a typical spring break, when many travel far and wide, would result in an unmanageable outbreak of COVID-19 when they return to campus.”
Students created a petition, asking people to “help us get back our mental break that we so desperately require by signing this petition. We already have no football season, it's time to take charge of something.”
9. University of Alabama
Administration at the University of Alabama has decided to nix its spring break as well, saying that the decision was made “to mitigate risks associated with travel,” according to AL.com.
One student told a local news outlet that he was upset with the move.
"As a student, it kind of stinks because I was kind of really looking forward to spring break," one student told WTVM-TV.
10. University of Michigan
The University of Michigan announced that all of its campuses will not have a spring break in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and will now finish its spring semester a week early, according to Click on Detroit.
In the announcement, according to the news outlet, there will not be a commencement ceremony in December, but those graduating in the fall semester will be invited to participate in the spring commencement ceremony.
Other schools such as Mississippi State University, Syracuse University, Wake Forest University, the University of Miami, the University of Notre Dame, and more have all decided to forgo their spring break.
However, one university is taking a different approach and will have a spring break.
According to Cleveland19.com, Kent State University is scheduled to have a spring break from April 12 - 18, but instead of returning to campus afterward, students will switch to online learning for the duration of the semester.
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