In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, administration decided earlier this semester to abolish the typical consecutive five day break for isolated spring break days throughout the semester between February to April: Monday, Feb. 22, Friday, March 12, Monday, March 22, Tuesday, April 6 and Wednesday, April 14.
The isolated break days pose an issue for students who relied on the break to catch up on schoolwork and rest, especially students who use the period to hone in on their thesis studies.
“It’s been difficult with the thesis and pandemic burnout. Consecutive break days would have been really helpful in dealing with that,” thesis student Ella Rennekamp said. “I feel like all anyone wants to do right now is rest but can’t seem to find the time.”
However, Registrar Brian Scholten assured that these decisions were for the safety of the campus community.
“Spring break days were scattered throughout the semester to help ensure that students did not leave campus for an extended period of time during which they could get COVID-19 and bring it back to campus,” Scholten said. “It was also determined that the days off were necessary for students and faculty, so the break days were always going to be part of the spring semester calendar in one form or another.”
Florida has been an infamous vacation spot for visitors up north who have been wanting to escape strict mask laws in public spaces like restaurants and clubs. Schools statewide have adapted their scheduling this semester in hopes to prevent another surge. Institutions like the University of Florida (UF) abolished the break altogether. Other neighboring schools like the University of South Florida (USF) continued with the standard one-week spring break.
Some professors have altered their syllabi to accommodate students. Professor of English and Gender Studies Miriam Wallace configured the workload in her course, “Restoration Drama,” to match the updated academic calendar.
“I think really hard about the rhythms of reading, writing and processing,” Wallace said. “Sometimes I think it’s tempting to cram a lot of content into courses. There’s so much good stuff to read and more that I need to read, too, but I also really value time to process what we’re reading and talking about.”
“The single days do kind of make me think more about that,” Wallace continued. “Since I’m doing “Restoration Drama” this term, about one play per week and one assignment is group readings of scenes. I’ve built some of those performances into the weeks where we have a break day, so the performance days don’t interrupt us in the middle of reading a play. That actually worked really well, instead of a whole week or two with nothing but performances at the end.”