By Rayana Petrone – 1851 Staff
On October 27, the Lasell community received news of updates to the Spring 2021 calendar from Provost Eric Turner. In his email announcement, Turner said “the need for safety simply outweighs other considerations” when justifying the university’s decisions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Important takeaways from the new calendar are the cancelation of Spring Break and the addition of an academic holiday taking place March 19, 2021, as well as the extension of Winter Break by one week. As to be expected, there were a variety of opinions on the updates by community members.
“The decision to eliminate Spring Break was not taken lightly… it is evident that we have to act in ways that may not be popular, but are nevertheless responsible,” said Provost Turner. Some members of the community are more in support of this decision than others, with Communication professor Dr. Erin Vicente being one.
When asked if the decision to cancel spring break surprised her, Vicente said, “I wasn’t that shocked and can understand given the pandemic situation. It makes sense if one thinks about it to make sure [COVID-19 is] not spread.”
Students’ reactions to the cancelation of Spring Break were much different. Sophomore Hannah Booth, a remote student stated, “I was disappointed because that is time I am used to doing things like hiking and relaxing without having to worry about school.”
Residential junior Maggie Clukey felt similarly to Booth “I really was not too fond of the idea just because we do have so many breaks in the fall semester and we are just not having any in the spring… that is when I personally like to go home and have a brain break, in the middle of our spring semester.”
Lasell put an academic holiday in place of Spring Break, which also received mixed reactions. A general consensus that can be made from students is that the long weekend is not enough to supplement Spring Break. Booth said “I definitely appreciated getting a long weekend because that still is time to decompress and relax without having to attend class. Obviously the longer the break, the more time students get to relax without worrying about classes, but having a longer weekend is still helpful.” Clukey brought up that a lot of the Lasell community already have Fridays off and the academic holiday would have been more beneficial to the community if it were held on a Monday.
Vicente understands it’s not easy to accommodate everyone’s wants, though. “The long weekend is appreciated given the circumstances. There’s only so much the university can do while still remaining cautious.”
As for thoughts on the extended Winter Break, most are satisfied with the idea. Vicente said, “the extended winter break just gives me more time with my family and rest in a different capacity.”
However, Clukey voiced concerns about the break length “… not every student has somewhere where they really want to [be] for that amount of time.”
In general, the community seems torn on the new updates, with some updates being seen as more beneficial than others. However, as Provost Turner stressed, these decisions were made to keep the campus open. Although these new alternatives may not be ideal, everyone can agree that they were made with the health and safety of the community at the forefront.