Opinion: Jewell’s 2021 spring break model is flawed but responsible

Photo by Atıf Zafrak on Unsplash

On Oct. 29, William Jewell College Provost Anne Dema emailed all students announcing changes to the spring semester. The biggest announcement was the change to spring break. The five days that make up a regular spring break have now been spread out over the course of the entire spring semester, meaning that there will be no classes on the days of Feb. 5, Feb. 24, March 16, March 18 and April 14. 

“This change enables a less interrupted mid-semester schedule, which is a time that often involves personal travel, thus mitigating increased exposure risks,” Dema stated in the email.

While I wish things could return to normal by next semester and we could have our spring break as usual, both the school and I believe that is unlikely, and it would be irresponsible to act as if things were normal. So it was clear that Jewell had to make some adjustments to the next semester. 

About a week before the announcement, the College sent out a survey to students to gauge the student body’s opinions on how to change spring break. Apart from the option that has been approved, the others were to either have spring break as planned, with required testing added on, or have no spring break and school would end for the summer a week earlier. 

Ultimately, after the results of the survey, the school chose to spread out spring break, given that survey feedback indicated that faculty and students preferred that option over the others. 

I personally agree with Jewell’s decision, and I believe it is the best option for the spring semester of 2021. Going without many days off this semester has been very difficult on myself and many other students, so having no break would have been my least favorite option of the three. And while I would have liked to have a normal spring break, it would not be very responsible if the virus is not under control and would require copious amounts of testing, which is expensive. 

The only problem I have with Jewell’s plan for the spring semester is the dates for the days off from class. Only one of them falls on a Friday, and none of them fall on a Monday, meaning only one three-day-weekend will come from these extra days off. I personally prefer extra long weekends as opposed to a day off in the middle of the week because it gives me extra time to complete homework from the weekend, although this may not be as big of a deal to others.

Overall, I do agree and support Jewell’s decision to spread out spring break over the course of the semester. While I wish we could have a normal spring break, it would be too risky in the current situation we are in. I believe that Jewell made a fair and balanced choice that will keep the school and the surrounding community safe, while also providing students with opportunity for breaks during the semester.

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