Spring semester break eliminated, added onto winter break due to COVID-19

On Thursday, the Board of Trustees had a meeting with one thing on the agenda: to revise the 2021 spring academic calendar. Via a Zoom meeting that lasted less than ten minutes, they voted to eliminate spring break in the fall semester and add a week to the end winter break. 

The meeting was “called to address one item and done by itself sat we may act expeditionary on this period. It's an item that we had hoped we wouldn't have to do, of course, but I guess it is what it is,” said Chair of ISU Board of Trustees, Jeff Taylor. 

Regarding the spring semester academic calendar, Mike Licari, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs explains the proposed modifications: 

“In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus amongst our students and staff our proposal is a modification of spring 2021 calendar. These modifications are to delay the start of the semester by one Week such that the spring semester would start January 19 instead of the 12 [of January],” said Licari, “The second proposed modification is the elimination of Spring break in March. These changes give more time between visits of family and friends or time to self-quarantine prior to returning to campus in January.” 

There are other reasons behind this proposal, which includes the general safety of students and staff.  “The elimination [of] Spring break would help reduce travel away from and back to campus typically takes place in March during that time period. Travel and interacting with other groups of people is one of the key race at the virus spreads,” said Licari, “These measures will help us maintain our commitment to on campus in hybrid Instruction and will help us continue to keep our COVID numbers of isolation students and staff in quarantine students and staff as low as they are.”

It is stressed that many people within the campus community discussed this proposal before voting on it. “The president ensured that the matter was well discussed amongst the campus community including a joint meeting that she convened of the cabinet along with the leadership of the three shared governance units. I wanted to make sure that that was well understood: that this is a proposal that has wide support,” said Licari. 

Students mostly agree on the passed proposal and praise the decision to keep student’s safety in mind for the spring semester. “I feel like it’s a good idea but also spring break is something to look forward to like a halfway point where we’re almost done with the last semester of the school year,” said Samantha Prohasksa, Junior Health Administration major, “It’s a good idea just for the sheer fact of COVID-19 still being around and keeping students safe and healthy.”

Spring break means different things to different students. “Its only purpose for me is as a mental break from the semester,” said Lauranna Boone, Junior Fine Arts major, “I don’t mind the decision because I don’t leave for spring break or anything so it’s fine with me.”

Overall, some students believe this decision was the best for the university and its students and staff. “I believe that it was a logical decision because that way we get our second semester done without any breaks that could prevent the spread of the virus. I also agree with adding a week to our winter break so that it gives us more time to quarantine ourselves during the cold season,” said Julio Rosales, freshman Political Science Major. “I believe that this was the right decision because the decision was made based on a perspective of thinking of the future and the wider picture for ISU.”