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UW-River Falls cancels spring break due to COVID-19

November 2, 2020

UW-River Falls announces that spring break in 2021 will be cancelled. Faculty senate vote in favor of the cancellation and follows actions of other UW-System campuses. The cancelation is in effort to limit travel home during the semester to slow the spread of COVID-19. The last day of classes for the 2021 spring semester will be April 30. 

Students were surprised by this decision and have different opinions about the cancellation. The cancellation brings up both concerns and praise. Haley Palmer, a junior at UWRF said, “I feel that the university is taking the proper steps in the safety of our community.” Not having students traveling during that time will minimize the spread of the virus. 

Palmer also added, “It’s interesting that we are still having a Thanksgiving break, people will be going home to see their families and have large gatherings so it will be interesting to see how things proceed after Thanksgiving break and if the decision to cancel spring break was the right one.” 

A sophomore at UWRF, Riley Peltier, also shared her thoughts about spring break being cancelled. She said, “It is sad that it is cancelled but if it is a better decision for the university and the health of the students than it is understandable for sure.” 

Another student with some concerns, Amber Mollet, a senior at UW-River Falls said, “obviously it’s sad because people had plans, especially seniors but I think it is even more concerning because people rely on spring break for their mental health, mental health issues are already an issue right now due to COVID and having an accelerated semester with no breaks is not going to help and I feel like students are not going to perform as well academically.” 

The concern Mollet has for mental health during spring semester is one many students share. Mark Huttemier, a counselor at UWRF explained how the decision could impact the mental health of students. He said, “I understand under the circumstances the decision to cancel spring break and I agree with that decision however it is very important for seasonal depression to have something to look forward to and something to plan for which is something that can help with mental health in general.” 

There are reasons why vacations and breaks such as spring break are important for anyone going through stressful times and events. Huttemier said, “There is also novelty and your brain loves it and studies have shown that traveling and vacationing helps your brain get out of a rut.”

In addition to the cancellation of spring break, other updates in terms of COVID-19 include the regular testing of students living on campus. There is mandatory testing implemented for those living on campus and the testing site is always open to students living off campus as well. The university also encourages testing if students have any in-person classes. 

Face-to-face classes will continue to take place after Thanksgiving break. There is no institution-wide change following the break, however instructors are able to make their own decisions regarding their plans to continue in-person class.