As the spring semester crosses the halfway mark, this would be the time when the University typically has spring break. Like many other things, COVID-19 has impacted the usual academic schedule, including spring break. This year, Villanova was unable to have a spring break, and instead, the administration implemented two “working breaks” for the students. These working breaks consisted of two days in the middle of the week where there could be no assignments due or assigned, and no tests or exams administered. Professors could choose whether or not to hold class or alter their class plan on those days. There were two separate working breaks scheduled. The first was on Feb. 17-18 and the second was this past week on March 16-17. With roughly seven weeks remaining in the spring semester, students had some varying feedback on the effectiveness and experience of the working breaks.
Many students agree with freshman Eugenio Nocera, who thought, “it would have been nice to have a [spring] break,” rather than just a couple days off of assignments and tests. There is a general consensus among students, faculty and staff, considering that some sort of break is always needed around this time of year. Junior Maddie Burke expressed this sentiment well.
“It is hard not having a spring break this year.,” she said. “The week-long break is always necessary and appreciated. However, my professors have been really understanding over both working breaks because I think it is just as difficult for the faculty and staff to go straight through the semester.”
Along with Burke, some students were very appreciative of the two-day working break, and their professors took full advantage of the break, as many classes were cancelled on that Tuesday and Wednesday.
“The break was really nice and a nice way to alleviate some pressure from school work by not having any homework,” freshman Carson Demarco said.
Demarco spent his two day break, “catching up on some sleep, reading and TV,” like many other students across campus.
Although it is known that the University put a lot of effort and thought into the idea of the working break, some people thought it didn’t really feel like a full break from the stress of school, especially after midterms the previous week. Olivia Krause, a sophomore on campus, shared her thoughts on the working break and the effectiveness of it for students.
“While I believe that the University had good intentions with the working breaks for students, I do not believe that they were effective in giving students a break from schoolwork,” Krause said. “Spring break is always a full week where classes are not held and there is no work assigned. This allows the students to recharge after completing half of the semester and finishing midterm exams. With the working breaks however, the majority of professors still held class. While there was no work assigned for the two days of the ‘break,’ professors assigned things to be due the day before or the day after.”
Krause is not alone in her opinion that, “the working breaks were completely ineffective in giving students a real break from schoolwork because they still had to focus on upcoming assignments due that week.”
The spring semester’s final weeks are nearly here, yet COVID-19 still makes this one of the most life altering and challenging years yet. University faculty and staff are putting in a lot of extra time and effort to try to make the year as normal as possible and attempting to keep our usual traditions, including a break during the spring semester.