Colleges Are Canceling Spring Break To Help Stop The Spread of Coronavirus

by Julie Scagell
crowded Miami beach
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

The move is meant to limit travel and large gatherings

The hits just keep on coming for college students. As colleges and universities continue to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and the outbreaks on campuses, they’re looking to the future to determine how to slow the spread. For many, this means canceling spring breaks to help limit travel.

The University of Michigan is the latest school to amend its calendar and eliminate spring break across its three campuses, ABC News reported. University of Michigan-Dearborn Chancellor Domenico Grasso said the amended schedule will “mitigate the possible risks associated with campus community members who may have traveled during the middle of the semester.”

Michigan is one of several Big Ten universities canceling spring break next semester; others include University of Wisconsin, Madison, Purdue University, Ohio State University, and University of Iowa.

The move follows observations of how quickly the virus has spread on college campuses due to large gatherings and parties while the pandemic rages across the country. “Institutions may have frustratingly little influence over student conduct, but they do have control over the academic calendar,” said Brendan Cantwell, a professor and coordinator of the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education program at Michigan State University, in an email. “The start of fall semester shows us that anywhere students congregate, COVID spreads. Even when institutions hold classes remotely and close (their) residence halls, students living in the surrounding community contract and spread the virus.”

Other schools canceling spring break include the University of Tennessee, the University of Florida, Baylor University, Texas Christian University, Kansas State University, the University of Kentucky, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and Carnegie Mellon University.

In lieu of spring break for students, some schools, including Carnegie Mellon and Purdue, are adding “break days” or “reading days” throughout the spring semester to give everyone a break from the grind of the school year.

In addition, many campuses are wrapping up classes before Thanksgiving and not having students return until January to limit the amount of contact people have both on-campus and while they are away and to give them time to quarantine after holiday gatherings.

“Keeping students, faculty and staff safely on campus, 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,” Baylor wrote on its website.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers supported the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s decision to cancel spring break. “In order for our country to vaccinate 300 million people, it’s not going to happen overnight,” he said, adding it was a “wise step on their part.”

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.