K-State could start spring semester a week late, cancel spring break

Anderson Hall, pictured here in November of 2019, is the administration building of Kansas State. It is home to the Office of the President, the Office of Student Life and other administrative offices. The building is one of the oldest on campus as one of the three original buildings. (File Photo by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

The spring calendar could look different than it has in years past. Faculty senate approved a tentative calendar this week that starts the semester a week later on Jan. 25, 2021, and removes spring break from the calendar.

Some Student Governing Association executives are proposing the addition of two separate days off to the spring calendar in lieu of a formal spring break.

“We want to advocate for a couple days off to allow for a couple mental breaks in the semester. I don’t think any breaks could ever compare to a week off from school,” Lily Colburn, SGA’s Governmental Relations Committee chair and junior in political science, said via email. “A full week provides ample opportunity for students to work, take a mental break, travel and get caught up on academics. However, in the middle of a pandemic we have to change all of our practices.”

As a Manhattan-native, Colburn said she’s worried about what kind of impact a spring break would have on the community at-large. For one thing, unessential travel is highly discouraged.

“When planning strategies for reducing risk in a body of 20,000 people in the middle of a pandemic, there are many contradictory needs and interests,” Colburn said. “I hope that adding a couple of days off in the spring will be a way to find [a] compromise between the competing needs and interests faced by our university.”

On Friday, Provost Charles Taber wrote a letter in K-State Today confirming the plan for the spring semester as well as his intent to work with SGA on “well-being days.”

“These days will give students and faculty a brief respite from instruction to permit them to focus on their preparation and check their understanding of materials,” Taber said. “Campuses will remain open and students will be expected to remain on campus. However, no classes — undergraduate, graduate, professional — will be in session.”

In an email to students, Karen Goos, vice provost for enrollment management, said these changes to the academic calendar are not taken lightly.

“We are making these adjustments to the spring 2021 academic calendar to reduce risks related to the global pandemic by minimizing mass travel to and from our K-State campuses during the spring semester,” Goos said. “We recognize that the elimination of spring break presents a hardship for our students, faculty and staff.”

The calendar for the upcoming semester can be found under the Office of the Registrar’s page. All calendar changes are subject to approval from Provost Taber and the Kansas Board of Regents.

Student senate will reconvene at 7 p.m. next Thursday via Zoom. Students interested in attending may email speaker of the student senate and senior in political science and communication studies Nathan Bothwell at ndbothwell@ksu.edu or Kelli Farris, executive director of the Center for Student Involvement, at kellifarris@ksu.edu.

My name is Rebecca Vrbas. I’m the culture editor at the Collegian and a junior in journalism and mass communications. My hobbies include obsessing over an ever-expanding pool of musicals and cats (not the musical). I love writing because of the infinite intricacy of language, as well as its power to cultivate a sense of community through sharing experiences.