FMU adds pause days

Lesley Willard, Staff Writer

FMU will replace spring break with a series of “Patriot Pause Days” for the Spring 2021 semester.

“We did away with spring break because of the pandemic,” Peter King, professor of biology and university provost, said. “We didn’t think it was a good idea for students to travel to distant places and then come back.”

There will be a total of four Patriot Pause Days, each taking place during different weeks throughout the semester. The first will be on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, followed by a second on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, and a third and fourth on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 and Thursday, April 8, 2021, respectively.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is to postpone travel and stay home. This recommendation was taken into consideration when deciding whether or not the Patriot Pause Days would be a good fit for FMU.

King said that the idea to implement Patriot Pause Days originally came from several faculty members who thought they would be a good substitution for spring break. Along with FMU, several other institutions throughout the state and country have adopted this new schedule as well.

The goal for the Patriot Pause Days is to give both students and professors the chance to slow down and reflect on what is happening in their community while also taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The four-scheduled Patriot Pause Days will be treated much like Reading Day, during which the university is open, but no classes, meetings, or student events are held.

“We want people to have a personal day where they can relax, get their thoughts together, and collect themselves,” King said.

While King said that he has received no negative feedback from faculty, many students have voiced their concerns.

“I am appreciative of all of the breaks I can get this semester, but I would have rather just had one whole week off instead of a few days here and there,” Katelyn Coker, a junior psychology major, said. “It’s really hard having to keep up with when I am supposed to be in class and when I’m not with the combination of Patriot Pause Days and hybrid classes.”

Other students commented on the change as well, calling it frustrating, among other things.

“I’m a nursing student and my clinicals fall on some of these pause days,” said Hannah Cumbie, a junior nursing major. “We still have clinicals, so we don’t really get all Pause Days.”

While King acknowledges that this change will be an adjustment for students and faculty alike, he noted that it is only temporary. As soon as COVID-19 is more controlled, the university plans to return to a normal schedule for all classes, events and breaks.

Ultimately, the decision to replace spring break with Patriot Pause Days was made in an attempt to protect the health of the students and faculty. While it may not be ideal, the purpose of the change was to avoid giving students the opportunity to travel while still allowing them personal time, and it seems as if it will do just that.