TOPEKA, Kan. — Students are urging Washburn University officials to reconsider their decision to cancel spring break in an effort to minimize COVID-19 transmission.
The Washburn Student Government Association passed a resolution calling on the administration to consider an alternative that would add three “mental health days” to the spring calendar, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports.
The student leaders said they were blindsided by last week’s announcement that students would go through 15 uninterrupted weeks of classes, with finals week one week earlier between May 1 and 7.
“We understand the need for safety, but we can’t sacrifice safety for mental health,” said student body president Victoria Smith.
JuliAnn Mazachek, vice president for academic affairs, said in an email late last week that spring break was being eliminated to protect the health and safety of faculty, staff and students.
“As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow both nationally and in our state, it is incumbent upon the university to design an academic schedule that minimizes opportunity for contraction and transmission of this virus,” Mazachek wrote.
The state Department of Health and Environment reported another 1,244 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases from Monday to Wednesday to bring the pandemic total to 63,952.