Longwood, Hampden-Sydney still planning for spring break

Published 3:01 pm Thursday, October 22, 2020

By Anya Sczerzenie and Titus Mohler

Capital News Service and The Farmville Herald

A growing number of Virginia colleges are announcing that spring break will be canceled or modified in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

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Hampden-Sydney College’s (H-SC) spring break will be modified but not canceled, and Longwood University reported no modifications to its already-announced spring academic schedule, which includes a week-long spring break in March.

The spring 2021 schedule listed on Hampden-Sydney’s website includes a spring break that begins after classes Friday, March 26, with classes resuming Monday, April 5.

“The spring academic calendar does include a break that occurs later in the semester than a typical spring break,” H-SC Director of Communications and Marketing Gordon Neal said Wednesday, Oct. 21. “While many uncertainties remain given the pandemic, at this time the college does plan to test students upon their return from this break.”

According to Longwood’s spring semester schedule on its website, the university’s spring break will begin Monday, March 1, and classes will resume Monday, March 8.

“I have nothing to report regarding changes to the spring academic calendar,” Longwood Assistant Vice President for Communications Matt McWilliams said Wednesday. Referencing the schedule published on the university website, he added, “We are currently planning to operate on this calendar.”

Virginia Tech (VT) announced its plans Monday, Oct. 19. The biggest change is that the university will not have a week-long spring break. It will instead have five one-day breaks spaced throughout the semester.

“While we want to discourage travel that could aid in the spread of COVID-19, we don’t want to eliminate much-needed downtime that students seek for their overall well-being,” Frank Shushok, vice president for student affairs at VT, said in a news release.

VT will hold a mix of in-person and hybrid classes. The latter will be fully online or a mix of online and in-person courses. The university did not modify the start and end of the spring semester. The university will begin classes Jan. 19 and end May 5. Exams will be held May 7-12.

Sczerzenie wrote that other Virginia universities have also started to announce plans for the spring semester. George Mason University (GMU) announced Monday plans to start classes Jan. 25, one week later than originally planned. GMU will also be eliminating spring break. The university will hold a mix of in-person, online and hybrid classes, and will end classes as originally scheduled on April 30, followed by final exams.

Radford University will start classes Jan. 19 as originally planned and hold spring break at the end of the semester, concluding classes a week early. Classes will be a mix of in-person and hybrid format and end April 23. Exams will be held the following week.

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) announced last week that it will start the semester a week later than originally planned. VCU will hold two one-day breaks — one in February and one in March. The university will offer in-person and online classes or a mixture of both formats.

“This measure is consistent with many other universities in Virginia and across the country,” VCU President Michael Rao said in an email announcing the move.

Christopher Newport University (CNU) announced a tentative spring 2021 academic calendar on Oct. 7, which includes a shortened, two-day spring break in March. Classes at CNU will begin Jan. 11 and final exams will end April 29.

Many Virginia colleges have not announced their spring semester plans. The University of Virginia will announce plans later this month, U.Va. spokesman McGregor McCance said last week.