By McKenzie Collins and Jenna Hart
As a result of the projected plan to open campus in the spring, the College community is adjusting their academic and social plans for next semester. In an effort to limit the potential cases of Covid-19, the College has replaced “the weeklong spring break with two single days off during the semester, Thursday, March 18 and Tuesday, March 30,” according to College President Kathryn Foster’s campus-wide email.
The removal of spring break will impact the community aspect of the College and the academic experiences of students. However, due to the prolonged quarantine, many students are eager to return to campus in any form, regardless of the compromises that are being made.
“I’m just really dying to get on campus and I’m so excited for the spring semester,” said Rebecca Klein, a freshman psychology major. “I don’t want to be stuck at home anymore and I can’t wait to meet new people.”
Sophomore history and second education dual major, Joanna Primamore, also expressed both her personal excitement to be back on campus and her excitement for the freshman class to have a taste of the real college experience. She said, “the community is definitely a huge aspect of why I love TCNJ, and I really hope we can all safely be together on campus in the spring.”
While the desire to be on campus seems to outweigh the loss of spring break, some students are concerned that this will affect their academic performance. In terms of mental health, many members of the campus community are now realizing how necessary spring break is. The loss of a fall break this semester has made students realize how a break from schoolwork is much needed.
“Spring break is a time when people really need a recharge so they can finish the semester strong,” said Ellie Kent, a senior history and elementary education dual major. “Especially in a virtual world, and now in a ‘Flex’ world, people are learning a lot about themselves and how they handle the stress of uncertain environments.”
Kent is also concerned that the two-day break that will be implemented instead of full spring break is not enough time to positively impact the mental health of students.
“We now only have 2 days of break from classes. How can they prevent student burnout from that? Will they add more days off?” said Michael Pedowitz, a freshman physics major.
Though general concerns regarding the physical and mental wellbeing of the student body remain, consensus regarding the plan has been relatively positive. When considering the difficulty of the choice administration was forced to make, many students choose to consider the benefits of the hybrid plan as opposed to the disadvantages. Several students would rather move forward with the tentative plan of in-person instruction than continue with online learning.
Primamore expressed disappointment about the removal of spring break, but says the College’s decision lessens the risk of people bringing back Covid-19 and other germs to campus.
Pedowitz, along with several of his peers, shared this frustration and disappointment, but believes TCNJ’s hybrid plan is functional and similar to the one originally intended for this past fall. “I understand their reasoning to help mitigate the spread of COVID. I largely approve of their spring plan otherwise, as well as all of their safety measures,” he states.
Kent, who will participate in her last semester at the College in the flex form, is sad over the new reality of her senior spring semester. Although it isn’t how she envisioned her last semester at the College, she respects the decision for its safety measures.
“We are living in an uncertain world, so I appreciate the transparency and detail that President Foster gives in her Corona-Missive emails,” Kent said. “I believe that TCNJ has done a great job at taking the virus seriously and proceeding with precaution.”