Party's canceled: Colleges axe spring break amid lingering pandemic fears

Spring might now be in full swing, but spring break at colleges across the country has been canceled.

Multiple colleges canceled their week-long vacations. Meanwhile, South Florida is grappling with how to handle an influx of tourists to the state who are all ready to party.

Colleges across the country have chosen to cancel their spring breaks, even as South Florida implemented an 8 p.m. curfew amid packed streets and rowdy beaches.

While plenty of colleges around the country are still having spring break, a number of other schools have canceled the traditional week-long vacation as campus officials across the country cited too high a risk of exposure to COVID-19 as a result of students traveling. 

Most universities that have eliminated spring break either lengthed winter break, added in periodic days off for students, or a combination of the two.

Universities that have canceled spring break include San Diego State University, Florida State University, Washington State University, Gonzaga University, University of South Carolina, Purdue University, Arizona State University, and the University of Michigan, among others.

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“When we brought students back to campus in August, we saw an uptick in cases, which we expected and planned for appropriately,” said Chief COVID Officer Dale Bratzler of the University of Oklahoma, which also canceled its spring break. “This is especially important as the seasons change, and the combined impact of influenza and COVID-19 spread could be incredibly detrimental to our campus and the surrounding community.”

Hofstra University Provost Herman Berliner emphasized a desire for students to remain local, saying the schedule change would, “encourage adhering to best practices in public health, by strongly discouraging travel to and from high-risk areas and limiting the spread of the coronavirus.”

Campus officials stress that the main reasons for the change include concerns surrounding long-distance travel.

“Keeping students, faculty and staff safely on campus,” Baylor University Provost Nancy Brickhouse wrote in a letter to students, “preventing COVID-19 outbreaks like we saw across the country last Spring and progressing toward the successful completion of the Spring semester is our highest priority.”

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However, some schools saw opposition, such as San Diego State University which replaced nine consecutive days of break with four “rest and recovery days.” 

A small protest and petition with more than 15,000 signatures called for a reversal.

“Spring break is an essential time for us to recollect ourselves and maintain our mental health,” the petition read.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Arik_Schneider