SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The University of Utah has canceled Spring Break of 2021.
According to the university’s academic calendar, Spring break for 2021 was scheduled for March 7 through 14 but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With regular COVID-19 testing and planned vaccinations, the University of Utah’s Spring 2021 Semester will be shaped by the global pandemic, University of Utah officials share.
Dan Reed, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs tells ABC4, “We know how much our students, faculty and staff depend on mid-term breaks to rest and recharge for the rest of the semester. And we understand the stress all of us are feeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Nevertheless, we are urging our campus community to remain vigilant as vaccinations increase and hospitalizations and infections stabilize in our community. We are hopeful for a healthy and in-person return to our beautiful campus and a more “normal” college experience in the fall,” Reed adds.
Spring semester 2021 marks the one-year point since the university shifted to mostly online education and more limited campus operations as the virus spread through the United States.
“Although the development of therapeutics to treat and vaccines to curb the virus offer hope for a return to more routine school functions in the future, the academic calendar for spring semester still will be compressed in an effort to reduce the chances for exposure,” according to the University of Utah.
The cancelation was made with the following:
- Classes will begin one week later than normal, on Tuesday, Jan. 19, after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
- A two-week, online-only educational period is scheduled from March 1-14.
- Two additional non-instruction days—Friday, March 5 and Monday, April 5—have been added to the calendar. Along with the Presidents Day holiday on Feb. 15, students and faculty will have three non-instruction days.
- Commencement and convocation exercises are scheduled for May 6 and 7.
School officials tell ABC4 they have implemented a travel policy.
According to the U, the purpose of the travel policy is to “articulate protocols and processes for identifying employee travel reporting to protect University employees and our community, related to the instance of COVID-19.” The travel restriction is in place through June 30, 2021.
A document sent to ABC4 states travel restriction applies to all business travel, including travel related to bringing guests to campus. “This travel restriction applies to ALL faculty and staff travel, all university-coordinated student travel, and all guest/recruit travel,” as stated in the document.
School officials say due to the travel police required of employees and faculty, they felt they needed to make things consistent so they decided to cancel spring break for students.
“We encourage our campus community to be informed about the transmission level assigned to different counties by the state when traveling on university related business within Utah. We encourage students, staff and faculty to limit travel when a high transmission level is in place and to follow all health protocols, including wearing a face covering, when travel is necessary. We also recommend traveling with one person/household per vehicle.”
The University also continues to encourage everyone to be aware of their personal travel choices.