STU and UNB consider earlier spring break

The University of New Brunswick is considering changing the time of its annual spring break and St. Thomas University might be following suit.

Last fall, UNB sent a survey to faculty and students asking their opinion on the timing of the spring break. When asked for the results of the survey, UNB did not respond in time for publication.

STU sent a similar survey to students and faculty on Jan. 17, giving the option of keeping the break as the first week of March or changing it to the third or fourth week of February.

According to Jeffrey Carleton, spokesperson for STU, the issue of timing comes up every few years on both campuses.

“Because of our alignment of our schedules, for the most part, St. Thomas University wants to undertake the same exercise so that we can provide that input to UNB as part of their decision-making,” he said.

He also said faculty who teach at both schools and students who take courses at both schools should be considered.

Carleton said the university might move the break up because the eight weeks between the winter and spring break is “a very long stretch.”

“The term gets so compressed. You get back to finish your assignments, finish your essays and then get ready for your final exams,” he said.

“It’s a long haul from January to March, then it’s a brief spurt with a lot of pressure.”

Carleton said the reason STU and UNB have their spring break during the first week of March is because it “coincides with the New Brunswick public schools’ week-long March Break.”

“The reason for that, we’re New Brunswick institutions and faculty, staff, and most students are from the province and if you’re a faculty, staff member or student with a child in school, you would want to have the same March Break as the public school system,” he said.

“Or if you’re a student and you’re going away, you’re going home, your parents want to take you on a trip, what have you, it would make sense for it to be the same time as your younger brothers and sisters.”

Carleton said the survey is a good opportunity to “gauge what people think,” although there won’t be any changes made anytime soon.

“One thing that’s crystal clear is that there’ll be no change for next year. The earliest you’d expect to see something would be 2020-21,” he said.

The survey will be open for a week, but may be extended. The results will be released once the survey is completed.

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