(TheFreedomFlag.com)- Universities all over the United States have pre-emptively canceled Spring Break 2021 over continued fears surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleges are also taking more steps to reduce the potential spread of the virus on campuses over the next year.
Politico reports how dozens of schools have changed the 2020-2021 academic calendar in the expectation that the COVID pandemic will still be ongoing by the time spring comes around. Spring Break, which is traditionally an opportunity for students to take some time off their studies to party and travel, won’t be happening for thousands of students.
Earlier this year, during the early days of the pandemic, many students continued their Spring Break celebrations despite being advised not to.
Colin Riley, a spokesman for Boston University, told Politico that they were using “straightforward” rationale.
“We wanted to reduce the likelihood of travel in the middle of the semester and also wanted to retain the scheduled end of the semester so that people wouldn’t need to change post-school-year plans,” Riley said.
In the case of Boston University, an extra week has been added to the winter break before the spring term, which means the beginning of term only starts on January 25. In other examples, however, students have been given scattered days off throughout their spring term. Ohio State University added two “instructional breaks” both one-day long in the spring term instead of a normal spring break period, in an attempt to stop people from traveling during the break.
A study from researchers at the Ball State University in collaboration with the New York Federal Reserve recently linked the spread of the virus in various local communities with the return of students from campus.
“We present evidence that travel by college students, identified by the timing of university spring breaks, contributed to the local spread of COVID-19,” the report claims. “Due to the timing of university closures, students at universities with earlier spring breaks travelled and subsequently returned to campus while students at universities with later spring breaks effectively had their breaks canceled.”
While the measures may limit the ability of students to travel to far-away locations by splitting up the breaks or shifting the break to the winter, they aren’t foolproof. With many students living on campus but still attending some lecturers virtually, nothing is stopping them traveling and attending class from other locations.
The moves also suggest pessimism for a recovery from the pandemic in early 2021. A vaccine is just months away, but universities are already planning to dramatically change school schedules.