Editorial: two administrative closure days do not compensate for Spring Break

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Spring Break sign with beach background

Thursday marked the first of two administrative closure days, but the “break” did not do what the university intended it to do. 

The administrative closures were decided at an Oct. 7 University Council meeting. 

These dates were Thursday and March 12, and they were intended to replace the spring break that was eliminated. The break was eliminated to try to decrease the likelihood of student travel. The semester will now end April 30 as well.

The Northern Star Editorial Board wants to raise questions regarding the actual effectiveness of these days and address how they are not very useful for students. 

“There’s no perfect answer here,” Kendall Thu said during the university council meeting. “We’re just dealing with the uncertainties the best we can.”

Arguably, this was not the best the university could do. They only took into account a few opinions of students in the Student Government Association. That is less than 1% of students. A survey should and could have been sent out to the student body about this decision.

We all know how stressful college is, and spring break is the one week of the semester before or after midterms when students get to “shut off” school. It is as much a mental break as it is a physical break. With the pandemic going on for almost a year, this break is needed now more than ever; and these administrative closure days don’t do the trick. 

In a September 2020 Journal of Medical Internet Research survey study, 71% of 195 students said they were increasingly more stressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So how is taking away our break helping us? 

We are given a total of two days off, as opposed to the five we are used to. 

The University Council also discussed giving us a four day and a three day weekend spread out throughout the semester, according to the meeting minutes, but decided not to go in that direction. This would have been a far superior solution to the current state of administrative closures. 

The university claimed the administrative closure days were meant to stop students from traveling in a pandemic, but if students want to travel, they will do it anyway because the state of our current school system is mostly online. So, what is holding someone back from taking class while out in Florida? Nothing. Sure, it might cause students who are taking in-person classes not to travel, but that is a very small portion of students. And all students on campus get tested via surveillance testing. The Center for Disease Control also has not issued a statement regarding spring break, meaning the university did this on their own accord. 

The university should have allowed us to have a spring break and required COVID-19 tests upon return to campus, as they do at the start of each semester. 

As students, we receive weekly emails that are filled with lines about how they are concerned for our mental health, but are they? Especially since they took away the one week many students use to recharge? 

While the intention might have been to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the thought of their students’ true health was not considered properly.

While there was an extensive discussion on the topic, we wish the students were surveyed and asked about the topic before a decision was made.

 Students need time to relax in these stressful times. Giving us two days off was nothing in comparison to what we lost. Maybe we should ask the students what they need next time before taking away our much-needed break.