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US Colleges scrapping spring break amid pandemic travel concerns

15:05  20 september  2020
15:05  20 september  2020 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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An increasing number of colleges and universities are canceling spring break six months ahead of time amid concerns about travel during the coronavirus pandemic . The University of Michigan became one of the latest schools to amend its calendar and scrap the traditional spring break .

An increasing number of colleges and universities are canceling spring break six months ahead of time amid concerns about travel during the coronavirus pandemic . The University of Michigan became one of the latest schools to amend its calendar and scrap the traditional spring break .

An increasing number of colleges and universities are canceling spring break six months ahead of time amid concerns about travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

a group of people sitting at a crowded beach: In this March 17, 2020, file photo, people crowd the beach in Clearwater, Fla. © Steve Nesius/Reuters, FILE In this March 17, 2020, file photo, people crowd the beach in Clearwater, Fla.

The University of Michigan became one of the latest schools to amend its calendar and scrap the traditional spring break. On Thursday, its Board of Regents approved updated academic calendars across its three campuses that eliminated the spring recess.

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Concerns over students travelling for spring break have caused many educational institutions to preemptively cancel the traditionally observed school holiday for 2021. A growing number of colleges and universities are canceling spring break six months in advance, due to concerns about students’

Colleges Are Already Moving to Cancel Spring Break to ‘Mitigate the Possible Risks’ During Pandemic . Several colleges and universities across the country are removing spring break from their academic calendars amid concerns that it would cause a spike in coronavirus cases.

In a letter requesting changes to its academic calendar, University of Michigan, Dearborn Chancellor Domenico Grasso said the move would "mitigate the possible risks associated with campus community members who may have traveled during the middle of the semester." Officials for the main campus in Ann Arbor and the Flint campus also noted their revisions were due to "challenges posed by COVID-19."

MORE: Colleges forced to reckon with rising COVID-19 cases

Michigan joins other Big Ten universities that have canceled spring break next semester, including University of Wisconsin, Madison; Purdue University; Ohio State University and University of Iowa.

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“We know that many people will travel widely during spring break , no matter how hard we try to discourage it,” the school’s president, Biddy Also on Monday, a group representing the nation’s college and university presidents abruptly scrapped an annual conference it was planning to hold for

Other schools that have taken a similar course include the University of Tennessee, the University of Florida, Baylor University, Texas Christian University, Kansas State University, the University of Kentucky, Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and Carnegie Mellon University.

a group of people standing on top of a sandy beach: In this March 17, 2020, file photo, people crowd the beach in Clearwater, Fla. © Steve Nesius/Reuters, FILE In this March 17, 2020, file photo, people crowd the beach in Clearwater, Fla.

The calendar revisions come as schools across the country are grappling with COVID-19 outbreaks on campus as they attempt in-person instruction for the fall.

Like Michigan, Kentucky officials cited concerns about travel in its decision this week to eliminate spring break, noting that the "revised calendar creates a condensed semester in which students remain engaged in coursework on campus, rather than potentially traveling to other regions and returning to Lexington, which would increase the risk of spreading COVID-19."

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Spring break for USM runs March 14 to March 22. During those two weeks, or longer if necessary, all USM universities should be prepared to deliver instruction remotely. Out-of-state travel is canceled and in-state travel is being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Hagerstown Community College .

Like most colleges and universities around the country, IU moved to online instruction to address concerns In the case of Indiana University, the school extended its spring break by one week and began “In the midst of a global pandemic that has wreaked havoc on our entire way of life, Indiana

Last week, Kansas State Provost Chuck Taber also pointed to the need to reduce risks by "minimizing mass travel to and from K-State campuses" in its decision to adjust the school's spring academic calendar.

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A recent study on COVID-19 spread backs up those concerns. Looking at GPS smartphone data of more than 7 million U.S. college students, a June study by Ball State and Vanderbilt found that some spring breakers brought COVID-19 back to their campuses earlier this year.

For Baylor, "preventing COVID-19 outbreaks like we saw across the country last spring" was a priority, Provost Nancy Brickhouse said in a message to students this week on the school's decision to not take spring break.

In place of a spring break, some schools, including Carnegie Mellon and Purdue, are adding several "break days" or "reading days" throughout the spring semester to give students and faculty a respite.

a person standing on a sidewalk in front of a brick building: In this Aug. 19, 2020, file photo, students move back into the dorm for fall semester at the University of Michigan campus, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in Ann Arbor, Mich. © Emily Elconin/Reuters, FILE In this Aug. 19, 2020, file photo, students move back into the dorm for fall semester at the University of Michigan campus, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The spring calendar revisions follow a similar playbook for the fall, where many schools have condensed the semester -- including canceling planned fall breaks -- to limit the amount of time students would spend on campus during the pandemic.

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Thousands of partying American university students who made their annual journey to Florida for spring break are having their celebrations interrupted as extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the tourism industry due to the resulting travel restrictions as well as slump in demand among travelers .

In several cases, the days allotted for spring break have been tacked on to the winter recess. As medical experts anticipate a "twindemic" of flu and COVID-19, delaying the start of the spring semester may pose another advantage. In a Sept. 10 letter to students, Carnegie Mellon Provost Jim Garrett said the school decided to delay the spring semester "to reduce the number of weeks we are in session during flu season," since "the COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue through the winter months."

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During a coronavirus briefing earlier this week, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said he supported UW-Madison's decision to proactively cancel spring break now, noting the risks posed by students traveling to and from campus. He also brought up the potential timeline of a vaccine, which experts are anticipating the broader public likely would see pop up at pharmacies and in doctor's offices closer to mid-year.

"In order for our country to vaccinate 300 million people, it's not going to happen overnight," Evers said. UW-Madison's decision was a "wise step on their part."

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