Updated: Oct 29
While Salisbury University has yet to confirm how the spring semester calendar, including spring break, will ultimately be impacted by COVID-19, there are a few options circulating on how the campus could potentially proceed and celebrate safely.
In the past, campus community members have enjoyed a week-long spring break in the month of March, though such a break during the pandemic could threaten the university’s trend of recently low virus levels, with just 0.3% positivity shown over the last week, according to SU’s coronavirus dashboard.
Dozens of colleges across the nation have already begun canceling their respective spring break plans entirely, University of Florida, Ohio State University and University of Tennessee among them, each citing potential outbreak concerns as motivation for canceling.
During his weekly COVID-19 briefing Thursday, SU President Charles Wight mentioned that one potential alternative to the typical week-long break for students is an “abbreviated” two-day spring break from March 15-16, with classes resuming Wednesday.
“An abbreviated spring break would allow everyone to have a few days off from studies, while, at the same time, reducing the likelihood that people would travel long distances or outside our region to places where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is higher,” Wight said.
Vice President of Student Affairs Dane Foust previously stated that SU administration has been consulting with various campus groups for input on the best course of action for spring break, including the university’s Student Government Association.
Adding a few longer weekend breaks to the semester to compensate for the absence of a week-long break was among the suggestions posed by the SGA, per Diane Kalita, the organization’s chief of staff.
Kalita said administrators conveyed to the SGA that if spring break were to be eliminated completely, including any form of abbreviated version, the spring semester would simply begin a week later than originally planned to account for instructional days made-up by removing the break.
In turn, the organization presented a potential solution of still beginning the semester on-time and then using those five made-up “days off” periodically throughout the spring schedule.
Both options were proposed by the SGA with students’ mental health in mind, believing it was necessary for students to have time to recover from their spring class workloads if a week-long spring break would not be feasible due to coronavirus testing concerns.
Wight did confirm during the briefing that the spring semester for SU is still currently slated to begin on Jan. 25 as previously scheduled.
Any revisions to the spring semester schedule, including the finalized plans and adjustments for spring break, will be officially announced by the university later in the week.
Necessary changes will be made on the Registrar’s calendar website as well once new schedule details are publicly released to the campus community.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image courtesy of ABC News.