More than 20 colleges across the U.S. have canceled spring break in hopes of lessening the number of on-campus outbreaks of COVID-19. The list of colleges that have canceled spring break include the University of Iowa, Iowa State, Ohio State and now Kirkwood Community College has followed suit.
Kirkwood’s spring semester will have a delayed start on Jan. 25, and will still end May 10. The term will run continuously the entire month of March instead of having the weeklong break.
While Kirkwood’s administration keeps student and employee safety as a top priority, it was not their only consideration when deciding to cancel spring break.
According to Vice President of Academic Affairs Bill Lamb, trying to keep Kirkwood’s academic calendar aligned with the University of Iowa for the students who are dual enrolled was an important factor as well. Lamb said, “We want to keep campus open and classes going forward. Sending students away during a pandemic to possibly be infected and bringing that back to campus didn’t seem wise.”
One student expressed her thoughts on the effectiveness of canceling spring break as a way to discourage travel. Anna Miller, broadcast journalism, said, “I feel like it won’t necessarily stop anyone from traveling because we have online classes and the option to use Zoom.”
Other students voiced mixed feelings about the cancellation. Kate Fulmer, digital media production, said, “I am disappointed we won’t get spring break but if this is for the health and safety of the students, I am ok with it.”
Belle Hale, communications and non-profit business major, said, “Missing spring break is slightly disappointing because I have to change the dates that I had planned to go to the ocean to decompress, but I am excited about the extra week during the winter holidays.”
Last spring Kirkwood still held spring break as COVID-19 was just starting to spread, however students did not return to campus until the fall term that started in August. Initially, students were told that after spring break classes would be online for two weeks before a possible return to campus, but the online learning was extended until the end of the spring semester.
In mid-March students who had registered for study abroad were notified that their study abroad experiences were being canceled. And, in-person graduation was also canceled and moved online. Each measure was taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect students, faculty, support staff and their families.
When the 2020 Fall semester began, Kirkwood took many safety precautions on campus such as limiting class sizes, using Zoom for online classes, requiring the use of face coverings and postponing or cancelling some sports.
Of future spring breaks, Lamb said, “I have no doubt that when the pandemic is under control spring break will return.”
The updated spring academic calendar can be accessed at https://www.kirkwood.edu/pdf/uploaded/1527/20_21_academic_calendar.pdf.