This past Tuesday and Wednesday, March 16-17, marked the second and last working break of the semester. Unfortunately, this concept of a working break is extremely difficult for some professors to understand; a working break is not a working break unless no work is given.
It is as simple as that.
For many students, professors are more than accommodating during these two days marked as working breaks. Many classes were canceled as a result of the break, and assigned work surrounding that week was significantly decreased. However, some professors were still having trouble understanding what a working break meant.
The Vice Provost for Academics Craig M. Wheeland defined the working break in an email sent out to the students on December 15, 2020.
"We define a ‘working break’ to be a period of time during which no assignments, exams or papers are due," Wheeland said.
In the email sent out to the student body, Wheelan explained how this working break was a method approved by the provost to support student's mental health.
"Provost Maggitti approved a ‘working break’ approach in Spring 2021 as one way to relieve the pressure at key points in the semester,” Wheelan said.
Mental health has always been a serious issue throughout colleges across the country, and the pandemic only heightened this concern. It is important for Villanova to support students during this time, and in the school's mind, this support is demonstrated through the working break.
But is a working break even helping students if the administration is not holding professors accountable? Is this just a way for the University to cover its track, saying that a working break was given even if it really was not? Professors who blatantly choose to disrespect the rules of the working break need to be reprimanded. Mental health is not a joke.
Throughout this past year, the rate of suicidal thoughts in college-age adults spiked. In new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was found that one in every four 18-24 year-olds contemplated suicide in June 2020. This is not just a statistic. This is a cry for help.
Professors may think that a quiz is just a quiz, but in reality, this is so much more than that. The University is not asking professors to cancel classes. It is asking to give students a breath of fresh air: a break. I beg you. Give students the respect they deserve and do not give a quiz during the working breaks. It defeats the purpose. After all, a quiz is just a quiz; it can wait a week.