On Sept. 17, UK announced its schedule for the spring semester. When I opened the email, I noticed an unprecedented change—there would be no Spring Break. Instead, students would be starting the semester on Jan. 25, which is roughly two weeks later than normal, only getting a Friday off in place of Spring Break, which is normally a weeklong vacation. I strongly oppose this change, both for the mental well-being of students and for the other benefits Spring Break provides.
We already live in a pandemic which has caused several detriments to our mental health. First, we are isolated from our friends and family, and as a result, our lives are already in chaos. Second, most of us conduct our classes online, which means that we are usually in one location for most of the day. According to several studies, these actions cause or amplify noted symptoms such as anxiety and depression among individuals. Anxiety and depression can lead to students faring worse than usual in their classes and daily lives. Therefore, Spring Break is necessary to make sure that students get a much-needed mental reset.
Also, Spring Break is the only academic break which has been denoted by UK during the semester for as long as I can recall. During this time, the majority of UK students head down to Florida to soak up the sun or travel elsewhere to hang out with their family and friends. Even though some may argue that Spring Break shouldn’t be held in light of said pandemic, there are several other socially-distant activities students can enjoy, such as hiking, which will also provide benefits that will alleviate students’ stress in the long-run. Furthermore, the “Academic Holiday” denoted by UK occurs on a Friday. However, most students already don’t have any classes on Fridays, and if they do, they’re usually over by 3 p.m.
In light of the COVID’s negative side-effects regarding mental health and the alternative ways students can enjoy a weeklong break during this time, I encourage UK to reconsider the Spring 2021 schedule.