Bradley’s solution to prevent students from traveling during spring break due to COVID-19 was as haphazardly rushed as a procrastinated assignment.
The university announced two “no homework days,” ordays in which professors cannot assign quizzes or homework to be due, in December.
We can applaud departments for abiding by the no homework days for their students, or even for honoring spring break, as shown by the psychology department. However, this isn’t always the case.
There is no way to enforce the no-homework day. If a lecture is being given that day since courses are still scheduled on these days, or a paper is due the next day, students will be using their “no homework” day to attend classes and finish up assignments. Additionally, assignments aren’t always given out every day, so there’s no guarantee a seemingly random day is effective.
We recognize the break was eliminated to hinder student travel, and therefore, the spread of COVID-19. However, there are alternative actions that the university could have taken to both prioritize mental health and prevent unnecessary Florida vacationing.
Instead, we could have had five days off sporadically set into the calendar on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. By not scheduling days off on Monday or Friday, leaving the greater Peoria area would be much more difficult for students.
Another option discussed was to have been the “dead week” in which attendance is mandatory all week but no assignments are due.
Either option would have been better than starting the second semester a week late, as a break in the middle of the semester is more beneficial to mental health.
Other universities have at least been implementing full days off into their semester, not just “no-homework” specifications. For example, the University of Illinois scheduled three mid-week days off for students into its academic calendar, where no meetings take place and no homework is assigned. Illinois State also incorporated two of these full days off in lieu of the traditional break.
Having a spring break like other semesters was going to be unrealistic and detrimental to physical health to those on campus, but the “no homework” days did not make up for the much needed break.