From Where We Are

USC professors react to cancelled 2021 spring break

Teachers react to cancelled Spring Break due to COVID-19.

Faculty will be affected by the decision to cancel Spring Break at USC and they have mixed views.

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Jasmine Rae Bryant teaches chemistry at USC. Normally for Spring Break she would catch up on work and focus on her wellbeing by swimming or exercising. But this year, there is no Spring Break.

“In a normal semester, it’s usually time to to kind of get ahead and develop more materials for class, but also to just have a break from the usual day to day treadmill that is teaching 200 students at a time. And I spend a little bit more time on me, ya know swimming or exercising or getting caught up on things at home.”

Bryant says that while the university’s decision was beneficial to limit the spread of COVID, it is difficult to work for 15 weeks without a break.

“I kind of understand where they’re coming from under the possibility that we could be in person in some way. If you think about bringing a lot of people to campus and then sending them away again and bringing them back, that’s a really good opportunity for the spread of coronavirus. With most people joining from wherever they’re living now, I think there is still an advantage to not giving people a lot of time to travel—I think the mentality of spring break is ‘let’s go somewhere and do something’ and it’s probably not going to be the best decision at the time. While I like the idea of not having spreading events like that, I think it’s really hard to go 15 weeks without a break.”

“Well, I think, you know, for a lot of faculty, it’s honestly a little bit of relief….”

Gordon Stables is Director of the USC School of Journalism.

“The difficulties of teaching 15 straight weeks and how the cancellation of spring break actually makes things easier on teachers. in that it’s a more traditional 15 weeks. I know a lot of students and faculty both found one of the challenges this fall was doing a 15 weeks of instruction in 13 weeks. Everybody makes adjustments.”

Stables says that because USC Annenberg School of Journalism is hoping and planning to have some students attend classes in person during the Spring semester, not having a Spring Break should be safer.

“At Annenberg, about 25 percent of our classes are tentatively scheduled in a hybrid modality that actually really only works without a spring break, because most of the theory is if you’re doing testing and contact tracing, the kind that Univer US has already announced. If you have a week period where everyone disperses, you have a lot more concern.”

And he notes that the five days that would have been “Spring Break” this year will be interspersed throughout the spring semester. To benefit students and faculty.

Chemistry Professor Jasmine Rae Bryant says that with no Spring Break this year, she will independently schedule time to be with her family as well as additional time off for her classes.

“My children in theory still have some spring break this year. They’re in middle school and high school and their spring break is usually immediately after mine so I’ll probably schedule at least some time to be together as a family and go do something fun locally, very safe—maybe we’ll go for a day hike—but something where we take some time off and spend it together which I’m really looking forward to because I don’t usually get that time as our holidays rarely line up”

“But i do plan to give my classes some time off. I just know that it probably won’t line up with the days that other people decide to give their classes days off so I don’t think students will necessarily get a full day off or a long weekend. And that might be the real disadvantage”

A statement on this issue from Annenberg is expected later today.