This year was the first time West Chester University students did not have a Fall Break. Normally, we would have this break on Monday and Tuesday following the first weekend in October. However, like many of the other PASSHE schools, they elected instead to have a full week off for the Thanksgiving holiday. Many students view this decision as a blessing, but this has already begun negatively affecting students, and it will continue during midterms and finals.
At this point in the semester, students need a break more than ever. Most of us are getting sick, causing us to miss class and negatively affecting the quality of our schoolwork, if not the number of assignments actually getting completed. Even if we aren't sick, we're getting burnt out from the constant stress and work. Last year, my saving grace before midterms was my fall break. It was a time to catch up on missed work and simply spend a few days relaxing. After a while, the constant schedule of classes, clubs, work, and other activities wears you out, and Fall Break was our time to step away from all that even for a few days. Now, we must push through school until November.
Many students and teachers who support the removal of Fall Break do so because this means we have a longer Thanksgiving Break. With the Monday and Tuesday off school plus weekends on either end, the break ends up being nine days. While this seems like a better option, this time away from school means bad things during finals period. Although people say they'll study over the break, it is very likely the extended break will serve as a nine-day procrastination period. Students will begin forgetting what they're working on in classes the more time they're away from it. On top of losing time before finals, students' motivation will also be down. The longer the break, the fewer students want to come back to school, especially knowing we only have a few weeks of classes left before a month-long break in the winter.
Although a longer Thanksgiving Break seems like the right move, administrators need to rethink how this will impact students. We'll be working for three straight months with no break, and it has drastic effects on the quality of our work, not to mention the emotional and physical ramifications. So, for the health of your students, I ask West Chester to change their decision next school year.