2021 spring break canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

Bridget Reilly and Elizabeth Mahan

MSU Texas officials announced via Postmaster Wednesday, Oct. 21, the decision to eliminate spring break from the academic calendar for the 2021 spring semester as they “continue to make the necessary adjustments to plans for in-person operations in the environment of the pandemic.”

Due to the cancelation, the last day of classes will be brought forward to April 23, final examinations will begin April 24, and commencement will fall on May 1. The decision comes following input from the campus community. However, some MSU faculty think students were left out of the decision-making process.

“Why didn’t administrators do a student poll? Even if the decision had been made, it would have been nice to get general student input,” mass communication professor Bradley Wilson said. “Maybe they did ask Student Senate folks. I don’t know. Maybe they did ask Faculty and Staff Senate. I don’t know, but it sure came as a surprise to most of the faculty members I’m in touch with regularly.”

There will only be a one-holiday break for the spring semester, beginning March 31 at 10 p.m. and resuming classes on April 5.

“That’s very unfortunate,” Ginelle Fontinelle, exercise physiology senior, said. “With COVID and stuff, it’s not that much that we could really do with spring break, but some of us actually look forward to spring break as a break from school and from classes and everything. It’s just like a way to relax and take a relaxing thing from the past semester, especially with everything going on and stuff, so it’s kind of rough.” 

Some students are left wondering why the MSU administration has chosen to go this route in their efforts to protect the campus from COVID-19.

“I don’t see any need of canceling it,” Valeria Contreras, radiology sophomore, said. “I don’t know why they did it. I just heard about it earlier, like a few hours ago, and I was like ‘That’s weird.’ I heard it from a friend, so I didn’t quite believe it.”

Other students are not surprised of the news and are accepting the 2020 fate.

“I was kind of expecting it. A lot of universities had already done that, so it was kind of just inevitable at this point,” \Luke Craddock, theatre freshman, said. “I’m just kind of rolling with the punches really. I’m expecting things to not go back to normal for a while, but I just kind of roll with it and not stress too much about it, just kind of get done what needs to get done.”

Unsatisfied with the lack of information MSU faculty, staff and students received regarding the cancelation, Wilson suggests a weekly Zoom meeting to better inform the campus.

“My suggestion – not that anyone cares – is that a top administrator host a Zoom meeting or even webinar once a week just with an update,” Wilson said. “Put a face on this crisis communication, [the meeting] doesn’t have to be but 10-15 minutes. The key in crisis communication is the communication. We’re already in the crisis.”

This is a developing story; check The Wichitan website and social media frequently for updates.