The University of Miami and Florida International University have joined a growing list of schools across the country that are canceling spring break to reduce the risk of students, faculty and staff bringing COVID-19 back to campus after their travels.
“In lieu of spring break, which would significantly heighten the risk of exposure to COVID-19, the semester will feature two Wellness Wednesdays to give students a break from instruction,” UM President Julio Frenk said in a video message to the university community Wednesday.
UM’s spring semester is slated to begin Jan. 25, a week later than initially scheduled.
At FIU, the cancellation of spring break was announced during a Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday, according to PantherNOW, the university’s student-run media outlet.
“The recommendation to cancel spring break 2021 is one of the measures we are taking to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our university community,” FIU said in a statement on Thursday. “Spring break is a time when students have traditionally traveled and gathered in large numbers. Given the fact that we are still in a pandemic, we made this decision in an abundance of caution.”
If the Faculty Senate approves the revised calendar, FIU’s spring 2021 semester would not include spring break and would instead end a week earlier than initially planned, according to the university.
Good evening Panthers. Please see attached image for statement regarding Spring Break 2021. pic.twitter.com/q8aICiFl5i— FIU (@FIU) September 30, 2020
Universities in Miami-Dade, the county hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, aren’t the only ones in Florida axing spring break from their plans.
Spring break is also dead at the University of Florida in Gainesville and Florida State University in Tallahassee. Both state universities recently revised their academic calendars as part of their COVID-19 mitigation strategies.
Instead of spring break, UF will extend its winter break by one week, with classes now beginning Jan. 11. And at FSU, where COVID-19 cases are reportedly spiking due to large parties, classes will now end April 23, a week earlier than originally planned.
“The university continues its efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and we believe these adjustments will reduce the potential for members of the campus community to return to Tallahassee with the virus after traveling during spring break,” FSU Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Sally McRorie said in a message to students.
The University of Central Florida in Orlando told the Miami Herald Thursday that university officials were still discussing whether the school would cancel spring break.
COVID-19 has been a struggle for university officials across the country, including in Florida, who are trying to clamp down on large parties and get students to follow social distancing guidelines.
And thousands of new COVID-19 cases continue to emerge on college campuses, with most of the cases being announced since students returned to campus for the fall term, according to the New York Times.
Young adults across the United States have also recently begun to test positive more for COVID-19 than older adults and are considered to be a major factor in the virus spread, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.