In October 2020, Temple University announced it would push back the start of classes and cancel spring break for the Spring 2021 semester to limit student travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To allow students a break from class work, the university announced in December 2020 it would cancel synchronous classes on two “Wellness Days” on Feb. 23 and March 24.
The Editorial Board understands Temple’s decision to cancel spring break: it’s a necessary measure to limit the spread of COVID-19 on Temple’s campuses and across the country. The Editorial Board also appreciates Temple’s willingness to provide students with some relief during the middle of the semester.
However, the Editorial Board recognizes two days without classes may give students momentary respite from their stress, but it doesn’t give them enough time to decompress or catch up on missed work, especially if students don’t have synchronous class meetings on one or both Wellness Days.
Instead, the Editorial Board suggests schools and colleges consider alternative models like the College of Engineering’s relief week, in which synchronous classes are canceled and major projects are not assigned or due from March 8 through 12. Temple should work with individual schools and departments to plan multiple consecutive Wellness Days based on the needs of different programs.
As students, we know how physically exhausting, emotionally tasking and academically strenuous a semester without spring break can be, especially during a pandemic, and we ask the university to empathize with these challenges to promote students’ grades and overall well-being.