Salisbury University gives students and faculty a three-day break for Thanksgiving. Many community members spend time with family and food.
However, it also means stressful travel and schoolwork following student’s home.
Thanksgiving break should be longer, or an alternative break should be considered.
Freshman Maggie Atherton “[knows] a lot of people want to see [her]” when she returns home to Maine.
“I am not going to have enough time to balance everything and still get a break,” Atherton said.
The fall semester is a long stretch with only a few days off before finals.
Sophomore Megan Spicer said “[a longer break] would positively impact [her academic performance] because [she] would have more time to recharge for finals.”
Many students go home for more than the three days provided by SU. Several professors are left to change their plans for the days before and after break.
Geography professor Daniel Harris said his department struggles with Thanksgiving break. His course labs are separated into groups which meet Tuesday or Thursday.
Harris often cancels Tuesday’s class due to Thursday’s inclusion in the break and adjust assignment due dates.
Harris used to have “lab exams on [the Monday after break, but he realized] people are traveling, or they do not have time to study and prepare … so [he altered] the schedule with that in mind.”
Other universities provide alternative or additional time off during fall semesters.
Hood College in Frederick, Md. gives students and faculty a short fall break over a long October weekend, according to the school’s Academic Calendar webpage.
Ending fall semester before Thanksgiving is another alternative.
Going home only to return briefly before winter break can be stressful on students and staff who live far from campus.
Senior Maia Chibber would prefer “to get everything out of the way and have a [longer winter] break afterwards.”
Thanksgiving break also increases the risk of COVID-19 spreading due to travel between campus and home.
“Almost 1.1 million Marylanders will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend [this year], an increase of more than 12% over ,” according to The Southern Maryland Chronicle.
The three-day model for Thanksgiving break is a flawed standard.
Concerns regarding travel, academic performance, stress and COVID-19 suggest SU should consider implementing a fall break or altering the academic calendar for an earlier end to the fall semester.
By GEORGIA FOSTER
Featured photo by Megan Rayfield