Tarleton makes tweaks to the spring schedule


On Oct. 23, 2020, the Tarleton State University community received an email from President, Dr. James Hurley, regarding the adjustments made to the 2021 spring semester schedule. Changes to the semester included extending the winter break by two additional weeks. This extension results in the spring semester beginning on Jan. 19, 2021. Additional changes include spring break being reduced to three days, starting on March 8 and running until March 12, and a four-day break from April 2 to April 5. Classes are set to end on May 4, with the last final exam day being May 12. “We must continue doing everything we can to reduce the transmission of the (COVID-19) virus so we can enjoy the on-campus experience that we all love so much. These modifications will help,” Hurley said. The release of the modified schedule has brought forward a lot of thoughts and opinions on the matter. From responses that are overwhelmingly positive and negative, and many others who are indifferent and accepting of the new schedule. “I’ve heard a lot of other universities have taken away the full spring break or given one day, but we get Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off, so that seems more than other universities. And we get the two weeks off [after the holidays]. We’re coming off better than other universities,” sophomore communications major, Alec Wagnon said. Wagnon is disappointed that there will not be a traditional spring break in the next semester, but does understand that these are not ideal times, and that it is necessary for these changes to happen. “I feel like the spring semester new scheduling is [a bad idea] because it gives students more chances to be exposed to the virus,” Kinesiology major, Sophia Allsup, said. Allsup believes that the time off for spring break and the time off in April opens the opportunity for students to get exposed to the virus outside of Tarleton due to there being two separate breaks rather than being one break. “I’m not like a spring break person. It has always been just a convenient time to just chill out after midterms. But I know people that go out and use that time to party until they have to go back to school. I can see that people would be bummed out that spring break is shorter,” senior digital media studies major, Abigail Levine, said. “[In comparison] to other schools that just completely took out spring break, I do appreciate having three days off, but I don’t understand why they essentially just split up the spring break. I don’t really see a point because, as it is, we literally come back for two weeks and we have another short break,” senior general business major, Dane Hazle said. The shortened spring break is intended to limit student’s ability to travel while the additional break was meant to make up for the shortened spring break. “Ultimately, I think it’ll have some effect, but I don’t think it won’t be as great of an effect because regardless of us not being able to travel, students will congregate in places, just not in beaches,” Hazel said. We will still just go. It’s essentially just in the minds of college students that it’s still a spring break, and they’ll go and party regardless of where it is.” Levine stated that she believes that students will still make plans to travel and put themselves at risk for COVID-19 and not have enough time to conduct quarantine during the break. Wagnon also believes that there will be significant impact from the change, but that the risk of exposure is still present. “I think it’ll help a bit [with limiting the spread of COVID-19]. You can’t take that week to go to Cancun, so I think that it will help. No matter what, people are going to travel during the three days they have,” Wagnon said. He does appreciate the compromise made to give students a break while focusing on the safety of the community, but he thinks that students will still potentially travel and risk becoming exposed. Allsup has concluded that students will continue to be at risk of exposure, regardless of whether they travel or not. “COVID-19 is everywhere, you can’t get away from it completely, regardless if you go out of state, stay in state, it’s still going to be there,” Allsup said. While the university has established the layout of the spring semester, the future is still uncertain. Tarleton and its community will await the spring semester, and hope for the best outcome. Students are currently unsure of how these changes will playout, as while many have their concerns, they are hopeful that these changes have their best interest in mind.