The UW-Madison Faculty Senate voted in favor of altering the spring 2021 academic calendar. These changes include the removal of a usual one week spring break.
The Faculty Senate and involved university leaders believe that cancelling spring break will prevent excess travel and, hopefully, aid in restraining additional transmission of COVID-19 on campus.
Proposed changes would not impact the duration of the spring semester. The academic year would still conclude on April 30, but spring semester instruction would start on Jan. 25 rather than Jan. 19.
“I realize the slog of of going through a full 15 week semester with no break would be challenging, but given the vagaries of the pandemic, particularly in cold weather when people are indoors and the like. ...I’m enthusiastically supportive,” Provost John Karl Scholz said in response to the proposal.
Provost Scholz is not alone — the Faculty Senate backed his idea by voting 140-7 on behalf of the calendar modifications outlined in the proposal.
The proposed schedule includes a few additional class cancellations to recompense for spring recess: “Under this proposal, campus would cancel any classes scheduled for Saturday, March 27 (Passover) as well as have one long weekend, from Friday, April 2 through Sunday, April 4, in lieu of the normal spring break.”
University leaders intend to stand by the proposed changes regardless of intended course delivery methods for the spring semester.
Other Big Ten schools — including Ohio State, the University of Michigan and Purdue — have already opted to abandon their 2021 spring breaks out of concern regarding the spread of COVID-19.