We understand the goal the WSU administration wants to accomplish by canceling spring break. And we understand they made this decision based on the concern of spreading COVID and bringing back more cases because we also share those concerns. But the logic is skewed, misguided, misinformed, and focusing on the wrong thing.
Instead, WSU should be implementing repercussions for the people who choose to party or not wear masks despite WSU’s COVID policy. Other universities have implemented punishments for people they discover not following their policies. For example, NMSU mandates a day-long zoom class with an essay for first-time offenders. As far as I know, WSU isn’t doing this; there aren’t consequences for people who don’t follow policy.
WSU shouldn’t be making significant decisions that affect the ability of students to perform without their input. And this is the biggest problem; students didn’t get the chance even to debate the topic. We are paying for an education; we should get a say in decisions like this.
I have Graduate students in our department from all different campuses contacting me because they believe this is an unfair decision based solely on the fact that irresponsible students could potentially make the wrong decisions. They feel like, and I think most of us can agree, they are being punished for the actions of the few students who have made bad decisions and WSU has failed to admonish immediately.
Our students need the mental break that comes with spring break, but that isn’t the only reason why spring break is essential.
Parents (both faculty and students) expect to spend that time with their children and not need childcare during that week.
Many students go back to their family doctor or dentist for annual check-ups during this time too.
Not to mention it is a time for students and faculty to catch up on work without having new things added to the workload the next day or have an exam immediately afterward. Spring break is prime grant writing time. Without time to write grants, research doesn’t get funded.
TAs and faculty often take this time to grade reports/essays during spring break, and classes are planned with this in mind. It would take at least twice as long to grade all of those reports/essays when school is in session.
Researchers use spring break to go out into the field to collect data.
And prelims are often scheduled right after spring break, so Ph.D. students use it as a time to study for those.
Response: This COVID-19 emergency measure was put forward from the Provost’s Office, discussed during the September 24 and October 8 Faculty Senate meetings and then passed by the Faculty Senate on October 8.