So, we just had a four day weekend recently as part of our “makeshift” spring break. I will never complain about a four day weekend, but something isn’t quite right. It took me a while to figure out exactly what made this feel different from other days off. No one was prepared for this four day weekend and it makes an already confusing semester even more difficult to follow. The question is, why did Rhode Island College decide to split up spring break for the first time?
Let’s be honest. We all get to a point in the semester where we begin to feel overworked and need a break. Especially in the spring when we had little time to refresh after the Fall semester. I know I am not alone in feeling that sigh of relief every time I would remind myself spring break is just around the corner. That one week had a tremendous impact on me feeling refreshed enough to finish the semester strong. Unfortunately, we must press on throughout the whole semester with no spring break.
I understand why giving college students an entire week off to do as they please might be dangerous in a global pandemic. But this isn’t a movie where every college student spends their spring break in a tropical paradise. The reality is, travel is more difficult than ever and there isn’t a ton of motivation to leave home, let alone go on a vacation. Plus, how many students would actually be returning to campus and potentially spreading COVID-19? I know I am among the minority of campus members who attend in person classes and often interact with less people than I would at the grocery store. Although a risk may exist in having a spring break, it seems rather small considering the circumstances of our reality.
We also can’t forget that public schools just had their winter recess and they will also have their spring recess in April. If thousands of students and teachers can be safe with week-long vacations why can’t college students? Two four day weekends and a random Wednesday off do NOT make me feel refreshed, but rather more stressed out. No one can remember when these days are and it only complicates our schedules further.
I could keep telling you why I personally do not benefit from this “makeshift spring break” in any way, but it really comes down to what the reality is. At this point, I see no reason why RIC needed to take away spring break. It was obviously the easy decision to prevent the college from any potential issues that could arise, but we deserved more consideration than that. They threw in the towel for spring break halfway through the Fall semester when cases of COVID-19 were on the rise. Now that case numbers are significantly lower and vaccines are being administered, we are back on track in our fight against the pandemic. Yet, we are still not able to safely have a spring break.
All I am trying to say is this situation doesn’t feel right or fair for students and faculty. We have worked harder than ever since the last spring break we had, and some of us rely on that week to refresh and finish the semester. I acknowledge how difficult it is to make decisions in the current state of the world, but it feels as though this was perhaps a premature decision that makes an already difficult semester even more stressful for many.