Students returning to their respective Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities will do so without spring break or time off.
Eight universities including SRU have not announced spring break or wellness days, or scheduled time off for students and faculty to catch their breath.
SRU President William Behre said the schedule for the semester was already set when they worked to find days off. Setting aside a full day off proved to be “too disruptive,” according to Behre.
“We did seriously try to make it work,” Behre said. “We actually went through multiple discussions of multiple permutations to try and make it work.”
By adding a day off, Behre said the semester would shrink and the university would miss the required number of classes it needs to hold.
Six other PASSHE universities did find the time for either a full week off or multiple days off throughout the semester.
East Stroudsburg and West Chester Universities have kept their scheduled spring break in March fully intact.
Millersville University also kept its spring break but split the week up across three months. Students will have a day off in February and March before a spring recess from March 31 to April 5.
Three other PASSHE universities announced scheduled days off before the start of the semester.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania had the most announced days off out of the three schools. The university announced seven non-class days over the course of 3 months. Two of those days in March are on a Saturday and Sunday.
Kutztown University students will have four days scheduled off throughout the semester, with one of those days being a Saturday. Students at Shippensburg University are only given two “Raider Rest Days.”
As for SRU students, SRU will host Kickback Week from Mar. 7-13 with events to help them relax and focus on courses instead of other obligations. Events will include a mix of virtual and in-person events.
Lauren Moran, director of student engagement and leadership, said with not having time off this semester it is important to do something for students.
“We know that spring break is a time where students truly need a break,” Moran said. “That’s why it exists in academics. We are encouraging student organizations and departments to not do any meetings that week, to give students a break from the normal day-to-day schedule.”
Students will still be required to attend scheduled classes and complete assigned coursework unless their professor determines otherwise. SRU campus operations will continue unaltered during this week as well.
With events like a Pittsburgh Penguins watch party and online gaming event, along with less organization meetings, Moran said students either looking for something to do or just chill at home will be able to do just that.
“Realistically, this is the time of the semester where students tend to get tired, more anxious,” Moran said. “So, if we didn’t plan something, I think students would actually [feel] the opposite and it would actually be worse in terms of mental health.”
During the fall 2020 semester, 4,670 students, a little more than half of the student population, were involved with at least one student organization.
Still, some students at SRU are not happy about having to plow through the semester with no rest.
“It’s hard not having a break in the semester,” junior Kyleigh Lasky said.
For Lasky, a biology pre-med major, while she enjoys being able to hang out with friends during the time off, it is about relaxing, not the “crazy” antics college students tend to get into at popular destinations.
Lexy Snell agrees. The junior public health pre-PA major said she likes not having to worry about school for a week.
While Snell also likes to take the time to visit family in Florida, something she cannot do this year due to the pandemic, she still would have liked a few days off, even if they were not consecutive.
Lasky said it did not feel great knowing that schools like IUP are giving their students time off but understands the administration at SRU is trying to work with the situation at hand. Still, better communication regarding spring break instead of talk “through the grapevine” would have been appreciated, she said.
“We all recognize that spring break is important to the mental health of students,” Moran said. “I think that, despite our circumstances right now, with COVID, the university is committed to helping students to take that break.”