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Fall Break Falls from Academic Calendar

By Rebekah Skeens
On September 10, 2018
 
The 2018 – 2019 school year brings many new things, including a new academic calendar. In previous years, Concord’s calendar has included a two-day fall break in October. This semester, fall break has been removed from the schedule.
 
During the 2016 and 2017 fall semesters, the break occurred during the beginning of October. This break from classes was scheduled near midterms, which gave some respite to students. With classes requiring students take exams or turn in lengthy papers before the long weekend, this helped students prepare for the second half of the semester.
 
During the end of last semester, rumors spread of a potential cancellation of fall break, but there were no official steps made to confirm the statement. Since then, there still has not been an email or announcement sent to students in acknowledgement or confirmation of the schedule.
 
As a consensus, students have been shocked and surprised to learn of these changes. As more students learn of the change in academic calendar, many have asked why they weren’t made aware of this before the semester began.
 
Peyton Brown, Concord junior, believes that fall break is an excellent way for students like her to gain or get ahead in hours for Bonner, required observation, or shadowing hours. With a two-day break, it gives students time to work on upcoming projects or anything due for the looming finals week.
 
“This year in particular, my internship host had planned an annual 3-day trip during fall break, so the interns would not have to miss class for it. Now, all of us will have to miss class to attend the already in place trip.”
 
Fall break has helped students in numerous ways. By providing this four-day weekend, students could catch up on tasks or duties. Every student is different and has different needs. While one may need to catch up on a project, the other may need to gather more hours for a required internship.
 
Brandon Hussion, Concord senior, states he was not aware of the changes made to the schedule. The only way he found out was through a professor mentioning it in class during syllabus week. He states, “I was annoyed at the fact no-one mentioned anything about it before the semester even started.”
 
To Hussion, fall break was not necessary for him, but in the grand scheme of things, it is a time when students who live farther from campus are able to go home and see their families. To him, taking away this break does not seem fair to those students.
 
Peyton Brown says she also became aware of the change when a professor mentioned it as a possibility during the spring semester. Once this decision was finalized, another employee discussed it with her over the summer. According to Brown, she believes the schedule was changed to line up Concord University’s academic calendar with that of Bluefield State University. “I think Bluefield State should have created a break to line up with us,” she states.
 
The academic schedule changes that have been made were done so without communicating with students of the University. Without prior information from professors or without glancing over the schedule to see it missing, students would not know this information. 
 
Ashley Workman, also a Concord University Junior, realized fall break was not part of this year’s academic calendar after reviewing it over the summer. After finding this information, it was partially upsetting, since it was a time she looked forward to in both her freshman and sophomore years. “Fall break was an asset to Concord, because other schools in West Virginia do not participate.” She continues by saying, “It gave Concord students a chance to relieve their stress mid-semester, rather than having [to] wait until Thanksgiving.”
 
Fall sports teams also have to adjust as a result. Many times, teams away games or meets are scheduled during a time when student athletes are out of classes. This would entail having these events during the time of fall break. This is similar to the spring semester when spring sports teams have tournaments or games during spring break. Many times, teams travel several hours to compete, and they are not missing valuable time in class by doing so.
 
In previous years, the farthest teams Concord athletes were to compete against occurred while students were already allotted days out of classes. Since this year the calendar has changed, students are still to travel long distances and miss their core classes.
 
According to men’s soccer head coach Steve Barrett, the Mountain East Conference creates the sports teams’ game schedule, where fall break has not been a consideration. “We miss between three to five days of class a semester because of travel.”
 
Barrett continues by saying that “fall break hasn’t been an issue for us as we will practice or play a game. It is a normal week for us, with the exception of students not attending class.” The numbers of classes that students miss varies. While one student may end up missing one class, another could be absent from five.
 
The Concord University Cross Country team is participating in both a Short Run and Pre-National Invite, which are in Pennsylvania. With the extensive distance, those students are guaranteed to miss at least two days of classes. Many professors give student athletes excused absences, which don’t count for their total class absences. Even with these allotted days, students are still only allowed a certain amount for each of their classes.
 
As for other fall sports teams, they have a similar amount of days missed due to traveling for away games. The current semester calendar has caused a disruption in students’ academic lives regarding days and class material missed.

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