Spring break could be removed from the spring semester calendar

Spring+breakers+enjoy+South+Padre+Island+beaches+without+social-distancing+back+in+2016.

courtesy of Edward A. Ornelas, San Antonio Express-News

Spring breakers enjoy South Padre Island beaches without social-distancing back in 2016.

Karina Garcia, Riptide Anchor

On Oct. 5 President Dr. Kelly M. Miller sent out a memorandum informing faculty and staff that because of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic they are considering opening classes a week later with students returning to campus on Jan. 25 and faculty returning on Jan. 19. If this decision is approved then the original scheduled spring break for the 2021 year will be eliminated. President Miller also informed that student enrollment for the school year has remained unpredictable. Additionally, “If the decision is made to alter the academic calendar, leave eligible staff will receive two additional days to use within a year,” reported Miller.

“It is more than annoying, it is upsetting. I do not understand why they have to take our spring break away like that,” said nursing student Jonathan Estrada, “I did everything right by socially distancing myself and being in quarantine. I know a lot of students are gonna be mad, especially the seniors.”

English major Juan Eguia mentioned he understands why spring break would seem less necessary during the school year. “I can also see the safety precautions of removing spring break, but I know that having a break in the middle of the semester is a good thing to have as a student,” said Eguia, “I think many students would agree that a one week break works wonders, I would still prefer having that week in March than in January.”

The university is not alone in this decision to cancel spring break for the upcoming semester. Over a dozen universities around the country have cancelled their 2021 spring break. Boston (BU), Ohio State and the University of Michigan are among the handful of schools who have already committed to the decision.

Moreover, President Miller has informed that the university took a 4% increase in enrollment for the most recent summer semester. Still, the fall semester witnessed a decrease in enrollment of just 4.4%. “One of the contributing factors to this decrease is the 11% increase in degrees awarded during the FY20 academic year. I am happy to report that the COVID pandemic did not stop 2,766 Islanders from earning their degrees,” said Miller.

However, they expect to see a small turn-up in student enrollment for the spring semester. Although this has been difficult to predict since the registration patterns are unlike any other this year. As for now, “We will continue to monitor the COVID situation over the next few months and will send a campus wide message regarding the final schedule prior to the end of the fall semester. Your continued patience and flexibility are appreciated as we navigate this unprecedented time,” said President Miller.