Mercer cancels spring break, plans ahead for new semester amid pandemic

Mercer+University+canceled+its+spring+break%2C+which+was+set+to+take+place+midway+through+the+spring+2021+semester%2C+to+discourage+travel+to+and+from+campus+during+the+coronavirus+pandemic.

Image: Mary Helene Hall

Mercer University canceled its spring break, which was set to take place midway through the spring 2021 semester, to discourage travel to and from campus during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mercer University canceled its spring break, which was set to take place midway through the spring 2021 semester, according to an email to students from Mercer President Bill Underwood Nov. 3. The move is another part of the university’s plan to manage COVID-19 on campus.

“One of the factors enabling the University to successfully complete the fall semester was the elimination of the Labor Day holiday and fall break,” Underwood said. “The spring semester academic calendar has likewise been adjusted for most programs to eliminate long breaks and minimize the risk of community spread of COVID-19.”

Instead of a week-long break in the middle of the semester, the Macon undergraduate campus will observe four midweek breaks throughout the semester. These breaks are scheduled for Feb. 10, Feb. 23, March 5 and March 30. 

“These days will serve as a midterm reading days to prepare for exams and assignments,” according to Mercer’s coronavirus webpage. “Faculty are encouraged to be available for office hour assistance.”

Additionally, while Labor Day was not observed this fall, both Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Good Friday will be observed in the spring. 

Students will also not attend class April 15, which the university announced has “tentatively” been set aside for Breakthroughs in Engagement, Arts and Research Day. Classes are traditionally canceled on BEAR Day to encourage students to support peers delivering research presentations.

The 2021 spring semester will start Jan. 7. Students will be required to undergo a coronavirus test prior to returning to campus, according to Underwood’s email. Tests were also required for students returning this fall.

In the meantime, the university has also encouraged students, faculty and staff to receive tests prior to leaving campus at the end of the semester Nov. 24. 

Mercer will administer tests in Macon at Heritage Hall in the University Center Nov. 19-20 from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 – 4 p.m., Nov. 21 from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Nov 22 from 8:30 a.m. to noon, according to marketing communications website The Den.

In Atlanta, tests will be available 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 – 4 p.m. Nov. 19-20 at the Student Health Center in Sheffield. 

“We want to offer this testing so that it gives students and their families peace of mind knowing that students can go home for the Thanksgiving holiday with a COVID-19 result,” Vice Provost Kelly Reffitt said

Tests can be scheduled through MyMercer by going to the “Action Items” page.

Full spring academic calendars are available for both Macon and Atlanta on the university registrar’s website.