Spring semester plans prove confusing, unnecessary

St. Edward’s recently released a plan for what the spring 2021 semester will look like during the pandemic. The plan has been met with mixed responses due to changes being made. “The university’s goal throughout all pandemic-related disruptions has been for students to remain on schedule for their graduation, while providing safe, personalized and vibrant experiences,” the Healthy Hilltop site reads. “We continue to rely on national, state and regional data about Covid-19 transmission rates, healthcare access and contact tracing.” While some of these changes are reasonable, the plan seems more confusing than anything else.

It appears that the university is doing their best to operate as best as possible while staying true to these statements. Many classes will still meet online, but some in-person and hybrid courses will still be offered. “The university is working to expand the number of approved individuals to gather on-campus,” the website reads.

For the Spring 2021 semester, spring break is completely taken away and replaced with  three “wellness days.” I find this adjustment strange and unnecessary. While the mentality could be that students won’t be travelling for spring break and therefore won’t need days off,  completely doing away with it isn’t going to improve matters. Another question I have is why there are three “wellness days” for students when spring break is five school days. 

To make up for spring break being eliminated, winter break will have a one week extension, with undergraduate students beginning class on Jan. 19, 2021. The reason for the delayed start is to give students and faculty more time to get tested for COVID-19. This change makes sense as students and faculty might have more obstacles to sort out before the  semester begins. 

Easter break will also be shortened, with no classes after 4 p.m. on Holy Thursday and no classes on Good Friday. Classes will be in session the Monday after Easter. These Easter break changes are unnecessary as well as Easter break is already short.

Adjustments inevitably need to be made in a situation like the pandemic, where things are so susceptible to fluctuation. These adjustments may cause more confusion than benefits. Some students are likely to forget that spring break isn’t happening and may have a harder time with scheduling because of this. It would have made more sense to keep winter break as long as it is, keep spring break and add two or three “wellness days” if changes needed to be made.