Students react to the cancellation of Spring Break

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.”

“Given the rise in cases and the expected continuation of managing the COVID-19 pandemic through the spring 2021, it is prudent to cancel spring break and end the spring semester one week earlier,” Keith Lamb, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, said. “Doing so will help mitigate the spread of the virus within our campus community by minimizing travel of the campus population during the middle-of-the semester, and then returning to campus.” 

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,” Bradley Wilson, mass communication professor, 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.”

Not only did the news come as a surprise to faculty members but students as well who were not expecting spring break to be canceled so early within the academic year.

“I think what’s surprising is how early they decided to cancel it, because I honestly didn’t think they were going to cancel it till next semester, so I was kind of shocked to get the email at the end of October,” Estefani Vasquez, biology junior, said.

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.”

Canceling spring break is an attempt in preventing the spread of COVID-19, but students such as Vasquez don’t think it will be effective.

“Honestly [canceling spring break will] probably not [be effective] because it’s four days when we get five days off. I don’t really see the difference except for maybe it’s during the week but now it’s at the end of the week,” Vasquez said. “Honestly, I don’t think it will do a difference, because no matter what we still get those four days off and people are still going to go out and go on vacation  just at a different time.” 

Unlike Vasquez, Marianne Rangel, social work sophomore, thinks this change will help as a precaution.

“I think it will be effective in taking the right precautions to make sure COVID[-19]  doesn’t spread any more than it has,” Rangel said. “It’s gonna be just another weekend.”

The reason for the cancelation came as a surprise to students such as Davis Price, undecided freshman, who thought the spread of COVID-19 within the campus was being controlled.  

“I think that we were going on a good path with how it is right now, but if they want to take extra measures I think it’s okay,” Price said.

Other students are not surprised by the news and are accepting their 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.”