On October 21, 2020, Keene State College President Dr. Melinda Treadwell announced that spring break will be canceled this academic year.
This year has been like no other and in order to keep staff and students safe in a global pandemic, as well as make up for lost time because of COVID-19, President Treadwell has made the tough decision to cancel spring break this year.
The Equinox feels that this is the right call, despite their disappointment in losing an important break in the semester. The Equinox would, of course, enjoy having a spring break but is not surprised by this call as they understand that everyone’s safety at Keene State is top priority. It is for the same reason students are staying home after Thanksgiving break and continuing remotely until the end of the fall semester: To prevent bringing back the virus after students have travelled back home and therefore potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19.
With spring break being canceled, it will prevent an excessive amount of students from travelling outside of Keene which, after rigorous testing and monitoring for weeks prior to everyone’s arrival at the beginning of the semester, is now a contained environment. If spring break were to still happen, as per usual, then it would cut into the couple of weeks afterward break because it would require another round of mass testing and two weeks of quarantine before everyone can come back on campus. There simply isn’t enough time after spring break to make it worth students staying on campus the last few weeks before the semester is over.
Regardless, it is still disheartening to hear that nobody will be able to travel and visit family and friends like they usually would. The Equinox feels for the seniors who will now be losing their last spring break before graduating. This year has been especially hard on everyone, and academic stress, on top of a global pandemic, isn’t helping anyone’s mental health. Many students feel like they are burning out and would love to have even just a week off as it would make it much easier for them to get through the semester. Even if, in exchange, winter break has been extended by one week, it is when the break is that makes it so impactful. Spring break is a major mental health break, in the middle of stressful classes, that many students look forward to so it’s a little nerve wracking to see just how this spring semester will play out.
The Equinox feels that the school is not thinking from students’ perspectives as much as they should be or considering how important such a break is to some. The Equinox feels that the college needs to accommodate for the lack of a spring break with resources to help with burnouts that students will undoubtedly feel mid semester. The Equinox would be happy with either a long weekend or a more substantial alternative. Other suggestions included a weekend with no homework; holding a “spirit” week of the sorts to switch things up and make class workloads easier that week; making classes asynchronous for a week or so; recognizing more holidays in the spring, like having no classes on Saint Patrick’s Day; or perhaps the school could give out a number of “mental health days” to each student that they could take whenever they want throughout the semester. Anything to make the semester more tolerable.
All in all, The Equinox feels that since the school has canceled spring break this academic year, then they need to have some sort of replacement break to ease the stress that always swarms students mid semester.