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Message from Provost Cyril Clarke: Spring Break 2021

Dear Faculty,

Please know that I very much appreciate your partnership and collective efforts in developing our plans for instruction and student engagement for the spring semester. Your focus on and commitment to providing in-person learning opportunities to the greatest extent possible while maintaining standards for health and safety in the classroom/lab is critical to the success and well-being of our students, and their experiences at Virginia Tech.

As it relates to our students’ personal well-being and their ability to be successful in their studies, I wish to remind you of the importance of preserving the one-day spring break holidays (February 5, February 25, March 17, April 6, and April 26) throughout the semester as non-instructional days. According to the university’s official academic calendar, there should be no class meetings, assignments due, nor exams administered on these dates. It is also requested that faculty do their best to avoid assignment due dates and scheduling of exams on instructional days immediately following one of these spring break holidays so that students do not feel obligated to spend their down time studying or completing course requirements.

I recognize there are challenges to this modified spring break schedule, especially for lab instruction and other similar activities. We will need to think through and plan for the impact the changes will have on course and lab scheduling, and your assessments of learning outcomes. Please continue to work with your department heads and college deans to make the needed adjustments to position our programs and students for success.

It is critically important to the overall mental health and personal wellness of our students that they have the opportunity to use these distributed spring break days to rest, recalibrate, and enjoy time apart from their academic studies. Faculty are also encouraged to use this time to take a break from instructional duties. As an academic community, we need to encourage all undergraduate and graduate students as well as our faculty colleagues to take advantage of these designated breaks in whatever way best supports and accommodates their well-being.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to provide students with active learning experiences and your commitment to moving Virginia Tech forward.

Sincerely,
Cyril