By Olivia Hyatt
With cases on the rise, and Hancock county being a level two, the effects of COVID-19 strike again as the University of Findlay announces spring break is cancelled, sort of.
The UF Update sent out on Oct. 14 outlines the current plans for the Spring semester—virtual start on Jan. 11, return face-to-face and hybrid on Jan. 19., and the cancellation of spring break. To make-up for this, the university has set aside five instructional days to become break days. The break days are to be held on Feb. 10, March 2, March 26, April 5, and April 15.
Vice President of Student Affairs Dave Emsweller said the decision was made following the state of Ohio’s guidance, as Governor Mike DeWine prefers institutions to not have a spring break this year. Many of UF’s peer institutions have also made the decision to cancel spring break.
“Most of the private schools were coming to the same conclusion that we were not going to have spring break, so we definitely wanted to look at others as we made our decision. I think it’s always smart to look at what other people are doing to see if actually we find an idea out there that really looks good,” Emsweller said.
Bowling Green State University is taking a similar route to UF, as it also has planned days off throughout the semester, calling them “wellness days”.
Abbey Knedler, a Sonography major at UF, understands why the decision was made to cancel spring break, but feels staggered break days throughout the semester may not be enough.
“I think students are going to use those days to catch up on their homework rather than take a day off, like a breather and stuff. And I think possibly even professors could still assign things to do on that day, and it could be more of a stressful day off rather than a nice day off, like a long weekend where you can use just one of those days to get your homework done,” Knedler said.
Emsweller said the majority of these break days are in the middle of the week to prevent long-weekend travel and potential risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
Knedler uses spring break as a breather from school and chooses not to travel, while Rachel Kempker, an out-of-state student at the university, uses spring break to travel home to visit family and friends.
While Kempker cannot go home for spring break, she does plan on traveling home over the long Easter weekend since there are no classes that Friday and the following Monday. Kemkper believes other students are going to take advantage of the four-day-weekend as well.
“Especially if a lot of people already had their vacations planned, they might try to move them to Easter time where we do have that break,” Kempker said.
The update states these changes to the spring semester are to allow more travel time after the holidays and to limit travel during the semester in hopes of reducing the risk of exposure.
With on-line instruction for only a week, and the standard quarantine time being two-weeks, there is the possibility of students, faculty, and staff traveling and bringing the virus back to campus with them.
“If I’m from another state and I’ve been traveling all over, and I come directly to campus after traveling all over, then yes, I would probably want to quarantine to be on the safe side,” Emsweller said in reference to students who may use the winter break to travel.
Currently, Emsweller does not anticipate a return to a fully on-line format for the spring semester.