Wash. U. extends fall break, shortens orientation
In an effort to give students a breather from the fall semester, Washington University has extended fall break by one day this semester.
In the past, the University has had a relatively short fall break, giving students a long weekend by holding no classes on a Friday. This year, however, fall break will extend from Saturday Oct. 15 through Tuesday Oct. 18.
The University made up for the extension by starting a day early this year. Usually, Washington University starts its fall semester on a Tuesday, but this year the University began on Monday, Aug. 29.
As a result of starting a day early, orientation was cut one day short, which was the intention of the committee, Provost Holden Thorp noted.
“We felt like if we were going to have [a fall break] it would be better for it to be more of a longer break. A lot of faculty who teach on these days were happier with this situation because it evened things out more,” Thorp said. “There are a lot of people who believe that this makes the transition [into college] easier.”
The extended break will also allow students more time to go home and visit their families or even to stay on campus and further explore their interests in clubs and organizations.
“I think that people will do lots of different things. Some may choose to go home and others may stay on campus and do extracurricular activities. Of course, even others may just stay in bed and watch Netflix,” Thorp said. “It’s part of the idea to help faculty and students get a break and prepare to jump back in for those last six weeks or so of the semester.”
One concern about the extension of fall break is the increased tendency of students to skip classes during that week in an effort to create a longer vacation from school.
“Of course we hope that no one does that, but it is always a risk when you have a day off,” Thorp noted.
This new change to the academic calendar was not a quick one and has been in the works for the last couple of months. The University plans to continue the extended fall break in future years.