It is clear from the furrowed brows, exhausted faces and increased rate of cold brews from Starbucks that the lack of fall break is taking its toll on students, faculty and staff. The usual respite centered in mid-October is no more, and it’s evident everyone feels the effects of this change.

With the fall semester ending after Thanksgiving, the long road between Labor Day and late November seems to be a heavier burden than previous semesters. As professors, students and staff deal with the challenges that accompany a pandemic, burnout is quicker and heavier. The days are longer and fuller, and the constant juggling of online, hybrid and in-person classes pushes academic intensity to new heights.

There is no easy answer to navigating the coming weeks. While it would be easy to suggest we continue on and finish the semester strong, that’s likely not a realistic way to tackle the weeks to come. 

We need honesty and transparency from our institution — it is critical to ensuring the safety and health of all people on this campus. We need to put forth compassion and understanding to our colleagues at all levels. We must put our mental health and well-being above all else.

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