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Students react to JMU canceling spring break

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 6:36 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — JMU announced Friday their plan to cancel spring break to curb travel due to the pandemic, leaving students with mixed reactions.

JMU student Giovanni Gibbs says she was “definitely surprised but also a little disappointed.”

Instead of the usual week-long break, JMU has scattered the days off throughout the spring semester.

Gibbs says she would prefer not to have long weekends.

“Three days off is okay, but it’s nothing like having a full week with a couple extra days, so personally I think I would’ve just rather it just been no spring break whatsoever than like a half spring break,” Gibbs said. "I think it should be either all or nothing.”

Gibbs also says that more days off can allow for more time with family.

“When you have students in enclosed spaces, in a place where some of it isn’t really familiar, especially for out-of-state students where it’s hard for them to go home as it is, I think it can definitely take a toll on their mental health and their ability to perform well in their classes," Gibbs said.

Jackson Lapovski, another JMU student, says he needs more days off to catch up on school. “I’m taking like 15 credits, that’s a lot of work. I think three days isn’t enough to get a lot done. I think we need four or something like that," Lapovski said.

JMU student Hannah Johnson says not having the break halfway through the semester could affect students' mental health.

“I think it’s also like a psychological thing," Johnson said. "You know, that you’re gonna have that break off so you’re like grinding up until that break, you know. So, I could definitely foresee that happening.”

University Spokesperson Mary-Hope Vass says that they wanted students to be aware of the news as soon as possible as they are planning for the spring semester.

“We’ve certainly seen students who are not in favor of this, however, this falls in line with many other institutions throughout the state of Virginia, so ideally this is not how our spring semester would go, but we’re also still dealing with a pandemic," Vass said.

She also says it was the safest option for everyone involved.

“It’s an ongoing conversation that’s been happening, not just between JMU but also our local community to ensure that we’re following the appropriate guidelines and making the safest decisions for our students and our community at large," Vass said.

An extra week of winter break has been added to the school’s calendar, and the spring semester will still end at the normal, scheduled time.

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