The middle of the Spring 2021 Semester is near. Under normal circumstances, students are preparing for some leisure time during a week-long break. From extensive vacations in Florida to revisiting family, it is a well-needed hiatus.
However, COVID-19 continues to keep normal circumstances at bay.
In October 2020, President Charles Wight's Office announced Spring Break in 2021 would be shortened due to the “serious health concerns associated with campus community members leaving Salisbury.”
COVID-19 outbreaks in various communities nationwide occurred in 2020 due to college students traveling during Spring Break. Last year, the CDC investigated an incident involving students from the University of Texas at Austin who had gone on vacation to Cabo San Lucas during their time off.
Among the 231 persons tested for COVID-19 in the investigation, 64 received positive results. 60 of those individuals had traveled to Cabo San Lucas.
Will shortening Spring Break for Salisbury University students prevent such outbreaks from occurring? Or will it erase downtime needed for other students not recklessly partying and vacationing?
Spring Break trips will still occur. While Mini-Break officially lasts from Monday, Mar. 15 to Tuesday, Mar. 16, there is a full weekend before it. Those who intended to go on excursions at beaches in Florida and other destinations have plenty of time to do so.
Students who will either remain at Salisbury, or visit family at home have less than a week to recharge before the weeks leading up to final exams.
However, not everyone is unproductive during Spring Break.
There are a variety of activities for seniors on the verge of starting their careers to engage in during their off-time.
Students who planned on touring graduate or professional schools, volunteering, attending interviews and networking during the hiatus have a limited time to do so. This especially counts for locations only open on Monday and Tuesday during the Mini-Break.
Anyone hoping to use Spring Break to catch up or get ahead on class assignments is also left in the dust.
This Mini-Break is hardly a “break” for productive students hoping to develop themselves professionally and academically. Those who intend to ignore COVID-19 regulations and cautionary policies for traveling still have enough time to vacation.
A COVID-19 outbreak is still a risk with this change in the academic calendar. It leaves those who remain in Salisbury with little relief from the challenges of adjusting to virtual learning.
This pandemic is still full of uncertainty. New strains of the virus are emerging and current vaccines may not be effective for such strains, according to Consumer News and Business Channel.
Should SU still find itself in the grips of COVID-19 in 2022, I ask that Spring Break be restored to its usual length of a week.
Students and staff should be rewarded with an actual break for their hard work, not a pitiful two-day handout.
By JACOB BEAVER
Featured photo by Brad Boardman.