By Logan Vandine
Rider University has officially decided to cancel spring break completely this year, citing health and travel concerns as the coronavirus pandemic worsens across the country, President Gregory Dell’Omo announced at a town hall on Nov. 5.
“After careful consideration and thorough discussion, we have made the decision to start the spring 2021 semester one week later than originally planned and eliminate spring break. This decision was guided primarily by current federal, state and local guidelines, consideration of travel restrictions and quarantine and what is best for the health and safety of our entire university community,” Dell’Omo said in a statement.
The decision to eliminate this year’s spring break will give students an extra week to prepare for the upcoming spring semester as it will begin on Feb. 1 and end as scheduled on April 30.
Dell’Omo said he understood that canceling spring break is very disappointing for students but the safety and health of the students, teachers and staff are the school’s number one priority.
“We know eliminating spring break may be disappointing, but doing so will reduce the chance of members of our community traveling during this time, then returning to campus, which could potentially increase the spread of the virus. Taking this step will help lessen the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak like we’ve seen occur in other areas of the state and country, and give us the best chance to achieve a successful completion of the spring semester,” Dell’Omo said.
Rider, with this decision, will hope to limit the spread of the coronavirus as cases have spiked across the country over the last several weeks. Rider students were upset, but not surprised by the decision Rider made.
“I’m not surprised it happened, especially with the three kids getting kicked off campus for partying at Ohio State, so I’m obviously not surprised, it’s upsetting because I really wanted a break from classes,” freshman criminal justice student Donald Haws said.
Freshman graphic design major Eric Buckwalter was disappointed that students will not get a break from classes in the spring.
“I understand it was only a short amount of time, but students naturally need a break to refresh their minds and be able to perform at their peak and hopefully professors will realize that and will adapt to the changing scenarios,” he said.
Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Kelly Bidle, who chairs the coronavirus implementation team, also discussed the importance of canceling spring break and what ultimately led to the decision.
“Obviously we’re still in the midst of the pandemic and it’s really uncertain what’s going to be happening in terms with the spring semester, we’re getting ready to go into cold and flu season, we don’t have a vaccine yet and so out of abundance of caution and following federal and state and local guidelines, we decided that in the best interest in the community to follow health and safety standards that canceling spring break would probably give us the opportunity avoid any outbreaks on campus,” Bidle said.
Rider’s highest priority is to finish the spring semester on time and avoid any outbreaks on campus.
Bidle was also asked if she thinks there is a possibility that Rider may have to start the spring semester online.
“Again, it depends on the nature of the pandemic, unfortunately, you see that we’re in a third wave right now and the curve is not flattening, it’s going up and I just have to hope good judgment prevails in the country and so that way the curve can flatten and that there is a spring semester that we don’t have to be remote in but time will tell over the next couple of months,” Dr. Bidle said.
Even with cases spiking across the country, especially on college campuses, Bidle said that Rider is doing a great job following all protocols.
“The Rider population, in general, have been very, very good at adhering to all the guidelines that we’ve requested,” said Bidle.