A late break; No, a normal break that is all I ask for. While it is important to understand that this decision is one that was made for the sake of preventing infections, I do not believe that this strategy is good for the total wellness of students. The reality is that for both students and faculty, the trek from the fall semester through winter break and into the spring semester has done little to ease the intense burnout and strain that has resulted from our isolation. The reality is that for many students and professors alike, Zoom fatigue and the isolation that comes with the current circumstances have led to an intense period of burnout that is unlikely to go away with an early spring break. In a recent editorial in the journal cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking by Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, the root of zoom fatigue in which the idiosyncrasies that are brought about by these digital technologies for the brain to attempt to correct idiosyncrasies lead to greater strain and exhaustion. In addition, the placement of a later spring break would give the UNC Charlotte community an opportunity to rid themselves of the remnants of the Christmas infections that swept the country and instead of giving them time for the numbers to subside. This extra time before the student population is released before spring break gives time for a greater amount of people within the university community to be vaccinated. While most of the university community falls within group 3-5 of the vaccine groups, it would ultimately be better for the overall community if we waited to release the students for a break. Ultimately the timing of this article gives no time for any sort of change to occur. That being said, it is important that the Gaber administration remember that while the health and safety of our students is the highest priority, we should also be vigilant of how these decisions affect our mental health.
A lot of us are on the side of wanting a later spring break. I see why Feb. 8 to Feb. 12 is considered early, maybe it could have been pushed to the middle of February, but an early spring break is a lot more productive than we think it is. It’s colder than usual around this time, so I’m sure most of us will be staying home since many spring break activities aren’t available at the moment. Students can rely on this break as a mental health week to be lazy and catch up on sleep or even work extra hours for a bigger check. Students can focus on housekeeping, catch up on assignments or start on some of their assignments early so that they can have an easier rest of the semester. This break being early is intended to make sure students stay safe as it is difficult to vacation at such a time of the year. As we are more likely to stay home, this prepares students at UNC Charlotte to be safe later in the month when we start in-person classes and the campus is likely to be open to events and extracurriculars. Last year, at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, many college students still went out for spring break despite the health guidelines encouraged by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because they either didn’t care about getting infected or believed that they were invincible. Because of this, NBC reported back in March 2020, that the number of COVID-19 cases had approached around 60,000 a few weeks after COVID-19 was considered a global pandemic. Now, the CDC reports around 26 million cases in the United States, so imagine the increase in the number of people infected after a regular spring break. This will bring us farther away from the regular summer that we hoped for last year. I personally think that it is better to follow guidelines, give up some adventures, and prioritize the other important things in life now so that the world can have some time to go back to the way it was before.