According to new research from the College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College, about 60% of colleges have done away with spring break this year. Many campuses are instead offering smaller, shorter breaks or wellness days. Of the more than 600 colleges offering alternative breaks, scheduling days off mid-week was the most common option, likely an attempt to curb travel away from campus, and ultimately keep coronavirus cases down.
“You can make all of the rules and tell students to stay on campus, but at the end of the day, they’re going to do what they want to do,” says Daniel Mangrum, an economist who has studied the connection between last year’s spring break and the spread of COVID-19. Mangrum found that student travel in March 2020 was associated with the virus spreading more on campuses and in nearby communities. It was also associated with higher mortality rates.