College cancels spring break with release of new academic calendar

By Charlie McKenna

The college has canceled spring break in 2021, marking one of the first announcements about an otherwise uncertain spring semester.

The college canceled the 10-day break, which usually begins near the end of February, to prevent students from traveling and then returning to campus within a short timeframe, Maureen Hurley, director of student transitions and family programs, wrote in a post in the college’s parent Facebook group.

Classes will begin on Jan. 19, about a week later than the typical semester start date. 

The decision is the first hint at the college’s plan for the spring semester, as administrators have not yet revealed any details about life on campus after Fall 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield testified before Congress Wednesday that a potential COVID-19 vaccine could be widely distributed enough for “normal” life to return in late 2021. 

Administrators have not publicly announced the decision to cancel the break, and the spring semester will finish around the same time as prior years despite the lack of a break. The spring semester is set to finish on April 29. In recent years, the semester has concluded on May 1. 

In an emailed statement to The Beacon, the college wrote that it is actively planning for the spring semester and will release more details in the coming weeks.

“In order to ensure the health and wellbeing of our campus community amid the continued pandemic, and to provide more options to our students as part of the Flex Learning plan (including an expanded Winter Session for 2020-21), Emerson has adjusted the Spring semester for 2021,” the statement reads. “Like many colleges and universities across the country, Emerson’s Spring semester will not include a Spring Break in March.”

Boston University and Northeastern University’s calendars both include a spring break in early March. Other schools, like the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee, have canceled their spring breaks.