Spring Break is once again on the chopping block at San Diego State.
On Dec. 1, the University Senate will vote on a proposal that will eliminate the nine-day holiday students, faculty and staff rely on as a much-needed respite at the semester’s 10-week mark.
Under the new proposal, Spring Break would be spread throughout the semester. No instruction, assignments, deadlines and exams would be scheduled on any of the four “rest and recovery days,” according to the new proposal.
The R&R days are scheduled for Feb. 12, March 8 and 30, and April 15. SDSU will also be closed on March 31 in observance of Cesar Chavez Day.
Senators rejected an earlier proposal to add a week to Winter Break in place of the traditional holiday at the end of March.
The primary concern with a nine-day break is that students will travel during the time off, resulting in a surge of new COVID-19 cases, similar to the one SDSU experienced at the beginning of the semester. The resulting ripple effect across San Diego County put the heat on the university to control its off-campus student population.
San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten submitted a letter to the Senate in support of the revised proposal.
“Allowing a 9-day class gap would put SDSU and neighboring communities at risk of further surges in cases,” Wooten wrote. “Avoiding the 9-day class gap is a proactive approach to protect our communities from preventable outbreaks.”
Additionally, Senators received a letter signed by 43 SDSU faculty and graduate students from across the School of Public Health, College of Sciences and School of Excercise and Nutritional Sciences, among others, urging them to adopt the alternative Spring Break proposal.
“A prolonged break from instructional obligations – even virtual instruction – encourages travel and other behaviors which increase the risk of transmission and infection into our community,” the letter states. “To the extent that this is mitigatable within our academic calendar, we have an obligation to do so.”
Students in the School of Public Health also submitted a letter to Senators.
Meghan Johnson and Tamren Johnk, both Master’s of Public Health students and leaders in the School of Public Health Student Council, said that the importance of preventing a second surge supersedes concerns raised regarding mental health and faculty resources.
“We as students, understand the importance of mental health and its fragility,” Johnson and Johnk wrote. “With this in mind, we still believe that an alternative spring break option is the safest path for us during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The University Senate will meet on Dec. 1 to discuss and vote on the proposed academic calendar change. The meeting will be held over Zoom and is open to students. The meeting can be accessed here: https://sdsu.zoom.us/j/98572969568?pwd=M1YxVm1BWllkNVJPWjcwV1JldHBQUT09
Click here for a copy of the agenda.