#tbt: What about Spring Break?

Author: Leah Capuano


It’s officially that time of the semester when students typically begin counting down the days until spring break. In past years, spring break would consist of a one-week interlude in our busy spring schedules to ignore homework, catch up on sleep and escape the snow-covered campus for a restful trip back home or an exciting vacation.

Instead, students will endure the 2021 spring semester without the standard spring break in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. After the absence of breaks in the academic calendar during the fall semester, and the resulting extreme stress levels within the student body, the administration has decided to disperse three, one-day “mini breaks” throughout the semester to replace the usual weeklong break. Complaints about this downgrade are abundant, but it seems that students are not alone with their current dissatisfaction.

In a February 1964 issue of Scholastic, Lewis Homburg, a resident of Dillon Hall, submitted a grievance against the Notre Dame administration about the length of spring break. Homburg argued that the administration had failed to consider that one week would not provide many international and West Coast students sufficient time to travel to their hometowns.

“The administration prides itself on the wide geographic background of the students here at Notre Dame,” Homburg wrote. “Hasn’t it occurred to the administration that many students, precisely because of their wide geographic background, will be prevented from going home?”

While there is certainly reason for the reduced length of this year’s spring break, the need for a longer break at some point during the semester seems to be persistent across generations of Notre Dame students.