Since announcing that spring break would be cut from a full week to just two days next semester, Salisbury University administration has faced intense criticism and scrutiny from its student body regarding the change.
In an email to the campus community Thursday, SU’s President’s Office alerted students, staff and faculty of the adjusted Spring Semester calendar, including an abbreviated two-day spring break from March 15-16, to help prevent potential spread of COVID-19.
The email cited, “serious health concerns associated with campus community members leaving Salisbury, visiting areas where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is higher and potentially bringing it back to campus,” as causes for shortening the break to less than half.
Despite the “mini-break compromise,” some SU students are sharply opposed to the change and believe it will result in more harm than good for the campus.
“It’s going to [impact] mental health greatly because students need time to relax and blow off steam … [and two] days can’t achieve that,” said underclassman River Myer.
How the shortened break may negatively influence students’ performance in the classroom is a recurring concern among students, with Emily Marshall, a sophomore biology major, agreeing that the new schedule may not be best for long-term student success.
“Breaks are important for [students’] ability to perform well in classes,” Marshall said. “Shortening our spring break will ultimately lead to less productivity and higher stress levels.”
Alyssa Collier, a member of the university’s track team, is particularly concerned with the indirect consequences posed for SU student athletes with classes now scheduled during the second half of the week.
“Some sports teams travel to games or meets during spring break, so [student athletes] might miss more class or not be able to go home to see family during spring break this year, provided that we have a season.”
SU’s fall and spring sports teams are all still currently scheduled to compete during the spring semester after postponements were made in the fall due to the ongoing pandemic.
Students have also expressed doubts over the effectiveness of a shortened break limiting potential travel and gatherings away from campus, with concerns still growing over heightened coronavirus levels upon the students’ return.
“It is very disappointing that we don’t get a full spring break and only two days because of the stress COVID-19 gives students,” said junior Chloe Adam. “Plus, I think college students will get together and party either way, so it will only make things worse for the campus in the end.”
Early childhood education major, Madison Abbott, furthered the idea that students will invariably leave campus, stating that “students aren’t going to care whether the break is two days or a full week, they’re still going to go home because they don’t like being away from family for an entire semester.”
Though classes will be held on days that would otherwise normally be occupied by spring break, the spring semester will still proceed with its originally scheduled start date of Jan. 25, according to the email.
SU administration met with shared governance groups, including the university’s Student Government Association, Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and Graduate Student Council, for input on how to best adjust the spring schedule over the past few weeks.
To view all the scheduling changes made thus far to the spring semester calendar, visit the SU Registrar’s calendar page, which may be found here.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image courtesy of Sun Sentinel.