As the student body has no doubt already noticed, Drew’s administration made the decision this year to forgo our usual spring break, instead peppering “Spring Break Days” throughout the semester on February 24, March 11, and April 2 and 19. While many other colleges have made similar decisions to cancel spring breaks and replace them with some other form of ‘mini-breaks,’ this change is both unfair and unsatisfactory to Drew’s students.
During a pandemic, it is understandable that the administration would want to take every precaution to ensure that students are safe and that they are at as low of a risk as possible of catching Covid-19. In line with that goal, Spring Break Days are intended to replace the more traditional spring break so that students are discouraged from travelling. This is to try and prevent people from leaving and reentering the campus bubble, especially if they could travel abroad or to other, higher-risk environments. While the Spring Break Days may indeed have that effect, they are simply insufficient to meet the needs of Drew’s students.
Not only are Spring Break Days randomly placed throughout the semester, weeks apart from one another, but the day of the week they fall on alternates as well. This is to prevent any one day’s classes from being skipped disproportionately, but the result is that students are not truly able to relax on their supposed ‘breaks.’ Whether it is a test or paper due the next day, students disproportionately are having to use these days not to relax, but to cram. Especially with what feels like an increased workload over Zoom—or at least the perception of one due to a constant feeling of being cooped up over the past year—students simply can’t afford to take a random Tuesday or Thursday off when sandwiched in-between busy days of classes.
Especially when considering that Spring Break is normally a time for students to unwind or catch up, these days are wholly inadequate. Senior students writing honors theses are hit even harder, especially since spring break is one of the last opportunities to fix major issues or prevent them from needing to drop their thesis altogether. An already-difficult undertaking has been made that much harder, and students who started their theses last semester were not aware of this change until relatively recently, meaning that plans they (and their committee of advisors) may have made regarding scheduling and deadlines all needed to be restructured last minute.
Even setting aside issues regarding overfull-workloads and lost time for thesis students, these “Spring Break Days” simply do not make up for a loss of spring break itself. Aside from the fact that a one-off Thursday is hardly as relaxing as a full week-long break, we were not even given the correct amount of days normally in a break. Normally, spring break means five full days off from classes, which when sandwiched in-between two weekends totals a nine day break. Instead of this relaxing midpoint to the semester, we were given four randomly scattered days between February and April. Notice—four days off of classes, one less than a normal break. Not only are these days less satisfying already, but the administration decided we actually didn’t need that fifth day off.
Particularly in a year as stressful as this past one has been, students need time off to relax and process the world. Seniors who may have used the spring break for thesis or post-grad planning were robbed of valuable time, and the general student body lost what was a crucial period for a holiday or catching up on work. It simply needs to be said—“Spring Break Days” are woefully insufficient, and Drew’s administrative decision to substitute them for a normal spring break has harmed its students at a time when they most needed support.