This past semester, Fall 2020, Spring Hill College chose to follow the lead of many other colleges and eliminate fall break, and finish the in-person semester prior to Thanksgiving. This caused the only day off to be Labor Day at the very beginning of September. Many students were burnt out by the time Thanksgiving rolled around. This arguably made things worse when online exams commenced once at home.
Colleges and universities across the United States noticed that this is not sustainable for the spring semester and have opted to include a variation of a “rest day.” According to fellow Jesuit school Boston College’s academic calendar, they have been allotted one “mid-week break” on Wednesday, March 3rd. Classes there typically begin around January 13th, but this year they began on January 28th to balance the lack of break.
Spring Hill College has taken a similar approach. Classes began on January 19th, about a week later than usual. Throughout the semester, we have been allotted three Rest Days: February 23rd, March 23rd, and April 14th, all in the middle of the week. SHC and all colleges choosing this system of breaks in the middle of the week seem to be doing so to eliminate the risk of students traveling by avoiding creating a three-day weekend. Not creating a three-day weekend seems logical, but are three mid-week rest days going to serve their purpose and provide students a proper break?
Though I understand the logic in not purposefully creating a long weekend, I am not sure that three scattered rest days will be enough to get people to the end of the semester. While we did start a week later, the semester is almost the same length due to the lack of breaks, so in most cases, we are really doing the same amount of work in a smaller amount of time. I do believe that rest days will be a welcome break in all of our weeks, especially given that nothing can be due the next day. Spring Hill students have a way of turning any situation into a good one.