There have been many changes and challenges to the academic calendar due to COVID-19 and the next change may be a spring semester with no spring break.
Since the virus hit our campus last March, administration has been making changes and adjustments to the academic calendar. These adjustments were a longer spring break, no fall break, a week off for Thanksgiving and potentially now, no spring break in 2021.
A small group is currently holding discussions and meetings about the possibility of not having a spring break next semester due to health concerns. This group includes SGA, faculty senate, staff senate, council of deans, academic chairs and the Pandemic Planning Committee, who have all been a part of these discussions and getting feedback.
“Many institutions across the nation have made, or are considering, this decision. Spring Break is currently scheduled for the week of March 21, so making a decision yet this month gives our campus community nearly six months' notice,” provost and executive vice president of academic affairs Patricia Poulter said.
Giving the campus community a six months’ notice would help students avoid booking any trips that normally happen during that weeklong break in March. Announcing a decision now or in the near future would save students money and handle any negative feedback that will happen.
The University of Alabama, Florida State University, Illinois University and the University of Miami have all canceled spring break as well as other universities around the nation. As of now, no university in Arkansas has canceled spring break. UCA is the only university in Arkansas to be outwardly considering shortening or canceling spring break.
“As a representative of the student body it is very easy to say that this is not an ideal situation. However, we understand the importance of the university needing to navigate through the pandemic effectively. In order for us to do this we have to work together. I think that eliminating spring break is a compromise we have to make so that we ensure the best to our ability that the UCA community is safe,” SGA President Jamaal Lockings said.
It is to be expected that there will be backlash or frustrated students about the possibility of this decision.
This decision hasn’t been made official yet but we can expect to hear an announcement by the end of the semester on if there will or will not be a spring break vacation next semester.