Why COVID is canceling spring break on many campuses

Some schools hope students will quarantine if they gather with families over Christmas and New Year's
By: | September 17, 2020
Many colleges and universities have cancelled spring break to prevent the spread of COVID during the fall 2021 semester. (GettyImages/Robert Daly)Many colleges and universities have cancelled spring break to prevent the spread of COVID during the fall 2021 semester. (GettyImages/Robert Daly)

Spring break is the latest college tradition to fall prey to COVID, as a wave of campuses eliminates the vacation as they announce spring 2021 semester plans.

The University of Kentucky became the latest flagship Thursday to cancel spring break in efforts to limit student travel and prevent the spread of COVID.

For the same safety reasons, many colleges and universities canceled fall breaks and will not have students return after the Thanksgiving break.

The University of Kentucky’s spring semester will run from Jan. 25 to May 15.


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Baylor University, which is also dropping spring break, says is will begin the spring semester on Jan. 18 to give students two weeks to quarantine after any family gatherings they may have attended during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

The schedule also allows for a potential pre-semester COVID-19 testing program for students, faculty and staff.

“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 says on its website.

The University of Iowa is offering its winter term is online only, is postponing its spring 2021 semester by a week, to Jan. 25, and has also eliminated spring break due to the ongoing pandemic.


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It’s not just large state schools that are canceling spring break.

McDaniel College in Maryland divided its fall semester into A and B sessions but will discontinue that approach for spring 2021 classes, which will start on Feb. 1 and not include a spring break.

Most McDaniel classes will be delivered in a hybrid online/in-person format, the college announced Thursday.


UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.


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