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ASU Students, Coalition Disappointed To See Spring Break Canceled

Brian Mecinas
Brian Mecinas
handout | contributor
“It’s taking away a week long break that we would have had to mentally recover, emotionally recover and just take a breath," ASU student Brian Mecinas said.

Arizona State University has canceled spring break due to COVID-19 concerns, the university announced Thursday. The news was disappointing to students and a group of concerned faculty, staff and students. 

Brian Mecinas, a sophomore studying sustainability and political science, said this past semester was incredibly difficult for him and other students and expects next semester will be similar. Canceling spring break doesn’t help, he said. 

“It’s taking away a weeklong break that we would have had to mentally recover, emotionally recover and just take a breath," Mecinas said. 

Senior Julia Campbell had a similar reaction to the news. 

"Students are facing massive burnout already from this last semester," she said. "Being in Zoom classes all day, unable to interact with your classmates in a meaningful way, and then having an increased load of assignments all day every day for weeks with no meaningful breaks, and having no forms of social enrichment is just asking your student population to burnout even further."

Mecinas thinks canceling spring break may curb some cases, but he hopes ASU will be more vigilant in preventing cases that may occur during off-campus activities.

The ASU Community of Care Coalition for its part appreciates that the university is taking public health conditions into consideration, and like Mecinas, knows there are merits to canceling spring break, but they also worry about how it will affect students. 

“What the coalition is concerned about is that ASU doesn’t have a plan for helping the community’s mental health and suffering and the burden of the workload that the condensed semester creates, said Jenny Brian, an honors faculty fellow with Barrett, the Honors College and member of the coalition. 

The coalition also feels that this decision was made without widespread input, Brian said. The group had proposed alternatives such as keeping spring break, but conducting virtual classes two weeks after, or extending the winter break and providing days off in between the semester. Coalition members forwarded these ideas to their supervisors to send to university administrators, but never heard back, Brian said.

ASU sent KJZZ this statement in response:

ASU has worked very hard to manage the impact of COVID-19 and just concluded a fall semester where health and safety conditions on campus resulted in a lower rate of positive cases than in the general public – all of our operational decisions are guided by public health recommendations and are intended for the well-being of the ASU community. 

Our plans for the spring semester are a continuation of the discipline and resiliency that have guided ASU during the pandemic. The adjustments that have changed routines, such as foregoing spring break, will be rigorous for students and faculty alike. Our goal is to facilitate continued progress for our students in a manner that is safe and that gives them the support they need to be successful. ASU continues to provide a range of resources, accessible virtually and in-person, to support students in having a successful semester.  Any student who has a need can contact  [email protected]  for assistance. 

Rocio Hernandez was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2022.