UBC Extended Winter Break
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We, students and other UBC affiliates, are calling on UBC’s administration to extend the Winter Break from its current period of starting December 24th and ending January 4th. Due to the rising severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel as though an extension is a much needed break for both the students and the staff. There are many key benefits of this extension as listed below.
First, with the transition of classes being online, students have experienced exhaustion, evidently resulting in a deterioration of mental health and general wellness. From the transition to online classes, students and staff have had to completely change their cycles and routines, causing a disruption to previous personal study habits. Extreme stress has been placed on many in order to adapt to these new circumstances, leading to a struggling population suffering from mental instability. Students have had to learn how to manage an increased workload, with many classes using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous lectures. Staff have also experienced similar increases in stress because they have had to restructure they’re courses and some teaching techniques, with a barrier for communication to their students. COVID-19 has been the underlying cause of depression increasing normal levels by more than three times from 8.5% to 27.8%, demonstrating how immensely difficult it is to cope with the current stressful circumstances (Healthline, 2020). We believe that it is beneficial for the mental well-being of UBC’s students and faculty to have winter break extended, in order to be able to take care of our mental health appropriately.
Second, UBC has more international students than any other school in all of Canada, (Canada Study News, 2017) with over 23% of the student body being international (UBC, 2020). With the current guidelines and regulations in many countries, a winter break of just 13 days does not even give students enough time to quarantine, let alone see their families. For many international students, this may be their first opportunity to return home in a very long time. Due to the lack of fall reading week at UBC and past border closures due to the pandemic, many international students have been unable to see their families for a prolonged period of time.
Also, with the fast-paced changes due to the pandemic, we believe this time will give many students the much needed break to prepare for the start of the winter semester. As UBC has decided to offer some classes in person rather than online, many students have been put under a lot of stress to figure out living accommodations and many other elements that come with this change of their original plans. Therefore, having this extra time would be a huge benefit to many.
Although winter break is coming soon and there is limited time to prepare for a change of this degree, many other universities just recently decided to make this change. As an example, University of Toronto recently announced they will be extending their winter break for undergraduate students by one week, in order for students to have more time to rest and recover from the months of extreme stress. As a world-renowned institution and one of the top universities in Canada, we believe that UBC should be able to do the same. UBC should prioritize their students' mental health and physical wellbeing over all else and should extend the winter break, as many other institutions have also chosen to.
The Students of University of British Columbia
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