Extend Winter Break at the University of Minnesota-Duluth

Extend Winter Break at the University of Minnesota-Duluth

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Ziggy Pha started this petition to University of Minnesota Duluth and

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Minnesota made the decision to cancel Fall Break for students at its Duluth campus. As a result of this decision, the Duluth campus (UMD) decided to end all in-person instruction by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

UMD students received the notice of this decision from the University by email on June 12, 2020 (subject line: “Your Upcoming Fall Semester at UMD”). The notice was sent before final decisions on class instruction modes were made and before decisions on student housing for the Fall semester were made (the decision for student housing would be made on August 24, 2020).

Many UMD students are now taking most, if not all, of their coursework through virtual modes of instruction. Ending all in-person instruction by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving no longer impacts instruction delivery for many classes at UMD. UMD students have been subjected to higher levels of stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues from not having a rest period since Labor Day, which occurred one week into the Fall semester. For students with in-person coursework (labs, small group lectures, etc.), it still does not change the fact that they too have been working without a proper rest period since the beginning of the semester.

The proposed solution to the issue(s) cited above is to add three extra days to the UMD Winter Break, currently scheduled for December 19, 2020–January 12, 2021. This would extend the UMD Winter Break through January 15, 2021, with the Spring semester beginning on January 19, 2021, the day after a federal holiday. This will also align the UMD academic calendar with the academic calendars of the Twin Cities, Rochester, and Morris campuses.

UMD acted without sufficient knowledge in regard to the delivery of classes going into the Fall semester. The decision to cancel Fall Break and ending all in-person class instruction by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving will not change the delivery mode for many classes at UMD. UMD students have faced many new and complex challenges within the two straight months since their last break. Extending UMD’s Winter Break will have little to no implication on course progress, the UMD academic calendar, and the current UMD Spring Break schedule.

We, the students of UMD, wish to follow through with the proposed changes to the UMD academic calendar of extending the UMD Winter Break through January 15, 2021.

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