Students deserve a break in the spring

Photo courtesy LA Johnson

Students have mixed feelings about the end of the fall semester. This tumultuous semester is almost finally over, which gives us time to rest and recuperate. However, we now have to face a sad reality — that spring semester might be even harder. 

Florida A&M University has joined countless other universities by making the decision to cancel spring break. Spring break is a time many students look forward to, not only to travel and have fun but to have a mid-semester break from classes. However, Maurice Edington, the provost and vice president for the Office of  Academic Affairs, sent out a statement in October regarding changes in the spring calendar. 

“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,” Edington said. 

This change is unfair to students as it is the only time, we get to take a step back and breathe in the spring. Not only did the school announce that we will be working non-stop next semester, but they also said we will be opening up classes for in-person instruction. This was a slap to the face, because essentially the school decided we were safe enough to be in classrooms together but not safe enough to get a well-deserved break. 

Currently, there are 15,504 COVID-19 cases in Leon County. While I understand that canceling spring break is meant to keep students from traveling, it is still unjust to not replace it with some other option for a break. Being back in the classroom is already exposing students to the virus, so what would the university have to lose with allowing us to have the one thing we look forward to all semester?

The most worrisome thing for students is the effect on our mental health. Spring break is not just an excuse to party, it is also a way to give our minds a break to prevent burn out. The National College Health Assessment found that stress negatively affects more than 30% of college students in this country. Homework, exams and extracurriculars all play a part in burnout among students. Not giving us a break is allowing all of that stress to pile up until it gets to a point where we cannot handle anymore. I already felt the effects of burnout this semester, and I cannot imagine what it will be like in the spring. 

FAMU did make the decision with our health in mind, but there should still be an alternative given for the students. Whether it is giving us a couple of days off that are spread out during the semester or something else that is comparable to that, students deserve to have a break from the stressful environment that is college.