CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Spring Break for area students might seem far enough away, but already local colleges are making plans to shorten or cut the week from the schedule altogether because of COVID-19 concerns.
It doesn't seem that long ago when local schools went on spring break back in March and ended up never returning to in person learning for the rest of the school year because of our local outbreak.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi joined universities around the country in eliminating that time honored tradition in hopes it will reduce the amount of travel that students engage in. The Island University will observe a one-day break from classes on Wednesday, March 17.
To accommodate the change, the university is moving the start date for the spring semester to Monday, Jan. 25.
Grad student Victoria Del Angel received an e-mail from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi that announced that the island university would shrink spring break from a week to just one day. The day would be March 17 which falls on a Wednesday and also happens to be St. Patrick's Day.
"I was very surprised to hear about that," said Del Angel.
While most of the student's classes are online this year, Del Angel knows the value of having that full week off.
"College is so stressful, so you really need that time to kind of build yourself back up, because spring break is right after midterms," said Del Angel.
To accommodate the change, the university is moving the start date for the spring semester to Monday, January 25th.
Other universities like Texas A&M College Station along with Texas Tech are also limiting spring break to just one day.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M Kingsville has decided to cancel spring break all together.
In a letter written to faculty and staff from the TAMUCC, Dr. Kelly M. Miller the
President and CEO wrote "Unfortunately, we must join universities around the country in eliminating Spring Break in 2021. "It is a difficult choice but one that is in the best interests of our entire community."
City-county health director Annette Rodriguez said only time will tell how spring break will affect our COVID-19 numbers.
"Spring break though we might be better off because we may have a vaccine by then. Having a smaller spring break, giving the kids some down time from studying, is probably a good thing, it just depends on how they spend it," said Rodriguez.
That is the main issue. Corpus Christi and Port Aransas beaches are used to being a party hot spot for college students from near and far.
University officials are hoping by targeting spring break, it will reduce the amount of travel that students engage in and prevent their exposure to the virus and bringing it back on campus.
As of Monday, October 26 the total overall on-campus tests reveal 32 positives at TAMU-CC and 62 positive cases at Texas A&M Kingsville.
Rodriguez said it's important to get through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays first. She said many folks have become COVID fatigued and might have relaxed on safety precautions.
"I know people are ready for this to be over with, but we also know the time we have left is much shorter than where we were initially and so we can get there, we have to remain vigilant," said Rodriguez.
So far neither Del Mar College or the Corpus Christi Independent School District have made any changes to their Spring Break schedule.