Annie Deitz, Campus Carrier managing editor
Next Wednesday, classes will be suspended for Berry students as the college has our “Spring Holiday.” In lieu of our traditional week-long spring break, this year we only have a single day off. I think most students can agree that this is incredibly inconvenient, as well as excessively and unnecessarily taxing on our mental health. But we need to recognize that our changed academic schedule isn’t pointless – the shortened spring break is aimed at reducing travel to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on and off campus. To make sure this works, Berry community members need to do their part, and not travel.
So many Berry students have plans next week to travel, whether that be just on the Wednesday we have off, or skipping classes and meets during the week to go on more extended vacations. This has already been highly discouraged by Berry’s administration, and general COVID-19 guidance recognizes that traveling is one of the most dangerous things to do during the pandemic.
Don’t complain about not having enough time off class, then go take a trip to a city, event or crowded public space. Your lack of personal accountability is why our academic schedule is what it is. We are only being given a day for spring break because we as a student body are not trusted to spend that time in a COVID-19 safe way.
This is my last semester of college, and I would love the opportunity to have a fun spring break trip with my friends. However, I recognize this isn’t possible. I understand that by traveling, by not abiding by the commonly understood COVID- 19 policies, I would be putting myself and those around me at risk. I could bring COVID-19 to wherever I am traveling. I could catch something while traveling, and cause an outbreak on campus. Risking someone’s health, potentially even someone’s life, because you want to go on a trip for spring break is incredibly selfish and stupid. Why would you put the lives of people you care about in danger because you want to go skiing?
There are still fun ways you can enjoy your day off while protecting yourself and our community. Camping with a small group of friends in your personal bubble outdoors, in the Rome area, is a great way to get away from campus in an isolated and safe way. Other outdoor activities, like hiking, picnicking or playing frisbee are similarly safe and different.
I still definitely think that we should have had multiple days off, whether that be in a row or throughout several weeks, like many other colleges are doing. But limiting travel and staying safe during next week is critical to maintaining the health of our community. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and during a normal year, the week of spring break sees students traveling around the country, or even around the world, to different cities, crowded events and public spaces. That’s not going to work this year. So next Wednesday, stay home, don’t be selfish.