Since March, students, faculty, and staff have worked tirelessly, spending thousands of hours planning and implementing our safe return to teaching and learning. As we have made and implemented plans over the last several months, we have also changed them at a moment’s notice due to circumstances beyond our control. Today, I write to you to share yet more change. At the urging of state officials, Illinois State University will cancel Spring Break.
I recognize that the decision to cancel Spring Break may be met with disappointment, but we must continue to make decisions with health and safety as our top priority. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois State University has demonstrated its commitment to public health and safety guidance provided by local, state, and federal officials. As we progress to the Spring 2021 term, we will continue this commitment. State officials have requested that the University cancel Spring Break for public health reasons. There is much concern regarding the safety of travel during the Spring Break period and the strong possibility that it will result in a significant increase in COVID-19 cases on campus and in the community.
Earlier in the Fall term, the campus community participated in a survey regarding Spring Break. The findings overwhelmingly supported Spring Break for the purposes of mental health and well-being. While we recognize this need, we must also meet the expectations of state officials. As a result, the following changes will be made to the Spring Academic Calendar:
- Personal Well-being Days: March 9-10 will be designated as Personal Well-being Days. No face-to-face, hybrid, or online classes or exams will be held on these days and no assignments will be due. Rather, a variety of health and wellness activities will be available.
- Reading Days: April 29-30 will be designated as Reading Days. No classes or exams will be held on these days and no assignments will be due providing additional time for students to prepare for final exams. The last day of Spring classes will be April 28.
The Spring 2021 semester will begin as scheduled on January 11 and end May 7. Except for the cancellation of classes, the University will operate normally on March 9-10 and April 29-30. Residence halls and dining centers will remain open, as will the Student Fitness Center, the Bone Student Center, Student Health Services, academic support units, and other offices that provide university services to students, faculty, and staff, and facilitate university operations.
The past several months have been some of the most challenging that any of us have experienced. The coming months will undoubtedly also bring challenges. I sincerely appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we have worked together as a Redbird family to adapt to and cope with the disruption and uncertainties created by the global pandemic. Thank you for your diligence in remaining vigilant in the fight against COVID-19 and for continuing to follow all public health and safety guidance.
I wish you good health, a successful end to the Fall term, and a safe and relaxing Winter Break.