In recent months, Humboldt County has had an increase in COVID-19 cases, jumping from red tier to purple tier. Humboldt State University took immediate action on Dec. 11, 2020, moving spring break earlier within the 2021 academic calendar year.
Prior to the alteration of spring break, HSU students who left their on-campus dormitories for the holidays were originally scheduled to come back on Jan. 15. Yet such a change did not pave the way for immediate resolutions as HSU faculty and student representatives discussed options to handle the unprecedented change of events.
“The reason that we revisited where spring break was and ultimately decided to move it was because of some concerns about having to populate and repopulate students more than one time,” HSU Vice President of Academic Affairs Jenn Capps said.
While the meeting mostly focused on mandated state and county-based capacity guidelines, there were concerns about reintroducing students on to campus under COVID-19 social distancing standards.
With spring break in February, students attending limited face to face instruction would be able to quarantine before going into class. This is meant to maximize the limited face-to-face learning experience because instead of losing two weeks to quarantine after break later in the semester, classes would run through with no interruptions.
“This shift was really feeling very necessary to protect the health and safety of our campus community, but also try to figure out how we can maintain some integrity of face-to-face courses,” Capps said.
Roman Sotomayor, committee head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) for Associated Students, commented on the setback of spring break.
“Our group intention was to prevent spring break from being canceled completely as other California campuses have done so. We did not reach a consensus during our meeting with Dr. Capps on how to do this. Many different suggestions were made,” Sotomayor said.
Despite the resolution that faculty, staff and student representatives came to, emotions from students began to rise.
“I was very much looking forward to having a spring break that was almost perfectly in the middle of everything, because the fall semester where Thanksgiving [break] is almost at the end, that was a lot, that was really hard for me,” said Franziska Daumberger, a transfer environmental resources engineering student.
Kinyon Moore, marine biology major, expressed her frustration with the new dates for spring break and said it won’t actually feel like one.
“With classes, it’s going to get really tedious after spring break because we’ll have that long stretch with just absolutely no break, long structure classes and, especially, with it being entirely online, it’s going to be frustrating,” Moore said.
While HSU is bound to be empty for the rest of January, students living on campus will be scheduled to return on Feb. 19 following a mandatory two-week quarantine.
Humboldt State Marketing & Communications and the Dean of Students were contacted for comment regarding the change of spring break, neither responded by publication time.
Photo by Claudia Alfaro Hernandez