COVID already taking a toll on students in 2021

Columnist Chamarya Roberts. Photo courtesy Roberts

COVID-19 is already affecting students at Florida A&M in 2021 — before 2020 has even ended. 

The university announced recently that spring break has been canceled. I had a feeling this was going to happen, especially after FSU canceled its spring break; but I was really hoping otherwise. FAMU issued an announcement via email on Oct. 1. 

In the email Maurice Edington, the provost and vice president for the Office of Academic Affairs, wrote: “As a result of the impact of the global pandemic and the need to safeguard the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, Florida A&M University has modified the academic calendar for the Spring 2021 semester. Spring Break has been canceled.”

Like many of my peers, I was shocked and a bit upset when I found out about this decision  that FAMU and several universities have made.

Officials have broadly said this measure is to reduce travel by the student body that could result in more COVID-19 cases.

I understand the reasoning behind the decision, but I don’t agree with this decision. Spring semester is traditionally the longest semester; there are fewer breaks during the spring semester. Now the longest break of the spring semester has been canceled. 

This fall semester has already proven to be challenging for students and professors. Since this pandemic has changed our norm, we have been glued to a computer screen nonstop from sitting in Zoom classes to completing our assignments. This change has been taxing on our bodies, and mental health. 

When we think about spring break, most people think it’s all about taking trips and partying. But it is more than that. 

From a student’s point of view, spring break is a time to relax, recuperate and regroup. I don’t know how many students will make it through the upcoming semester with just a one-day break — Martin Luther King Day. 

For the first time in my life fall will have more breaks than spring. The fall semester just made it to the halfway mark, but I have been ready for our Thanksgiving break for two or three weeks. I know a lot of students would agree with me when I say, Thanksgiving break can’t come fast enough. 

The first day of class for the spring semester is Jan. 6. For the first three days, instruction will be conducted remotely. The spring semester will end Friday, April 23, a week earlier than originally planned without impacting the number of instructional days, Edington said in his email to the FAMU community.

Let’s be honest: The semester ending a week early does not help us as students during the semester. Just thinking about those 15 weeks and two days non-stop without a spring break is already stressing me out.