Canceling spring break

Ferris announces elimination of break to mitigate spread of COVID-19 this spring

In an email on Friday, Oct. 2 the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs announced the decision to cancel the spring recess in order to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The break was scheduled for March 6-14, 2021. The email also lays out the new schedule for the spring semester. All classes will continue through the originally scheduled spring break and the last day of classes will be Friday, April 23. Exam week will be April 26-30, so students and professors alike will be finishing courses a week early this year. The Provost was not immediately available for an additional comment.

There are mixed feelings among both students and professors regarding the news. However, Ferris isn’t the only university implementing this plan. Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University and Northern Michigan University are all cancelling their spring breaks as well. 

Doctor Karen Barkel is a biology professor here at Ferris. Barkel explained that although spring break will be missed, she thinks it’s ultimately a good decision which will hopefully minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Many people similarly echoed Dr. Barkel’s thoughts.

“Being a pharmacy major, I know we’re not as close to a vaccine as we probably say we are,” Jason Zellers, a graduate pharmacy student said. “A vaccine takes anywhere for 5 to 7 years just based on preclinical data. They’re fast tracking it. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say it would be safe (by spring break).”

However, some people are concerned whether canceling spring break will have its desired effect.

“The hope is our students will not travel if a spring break is not given,” business professor Kayla Slezak said. “I believe if students want to travel, they will find a way to make it work especially if classes are available remotely.”

Melissa Vaughn, a junior at Ferris expressed similar concern. Vaughn’s opinion is that people will still try to find other ways to have fun even if they can’t travel and this could aid COVID-19’s continued spread. 

Some Ferris students already had spring break plans booked which is especially frustrating for them. One such student is Jason Zellers. It’s the second year in a row he’s had to cancel his trip to Cozumel Mexico.

Others disagree with the decision and are shocked by the news. Zach Schildhouse, a senior, said, “With Grand Valley they had a lot more cases than us, so I see why they did it, but Ferris’s cases aren’t too high, and I think this is kind of coming out of nowhere almost.” 

So far this school year at Ferris there have been 158 cumulative positive COVID-19 cases, and there are currently 30 active cases. This is less than Grand Valley who also canceled their spring break. They currently have 100 active cases and 289 total positive cases to date.