We are exhausted.
Students are facing enough hardship as it is, having to deal with the pandemic, the recession, a national reckoning with race, political upset and extensive global chaos. Our families and friends are still losing their jobs, getting sick and dying.
The lack of breaks in our fall schedule tops off what has become an impossibly difficult semester. Resuming classes on University Day — the only remaining chance for a breather that students had from now until the end of finals — serves no purpose and is simply cruel.
The fall academic schedule was created so students could finish the semester before flu season, avoiding a "second wave" of the virus. Therefore, the health risks of COVID-19 wouldn’t be compounded by the health risks of contracting the flu. However, after the shift to remote learning, when the majority of students were kicked out of their on-campus housing, the initial appeal of an expedited semester has lost its validity. There are no longer concerns about students contracting the flu in the classroom or on campus — so why are we still not getting any breaks?
Perhaps most concerning is the decision to remove reading days from the fall semester exam schedule entirely. Reading days are essential to well-being and academic performance, as they provide students with a much-needed opportunity to recharge amid the stress and chaos of final exams. Now, students face back-to-back exams without even stopping to catch our breath after nearly 12 uninterrupted weeks of class.