Administration announces four additional reading days throughout Spring 2021 semester

Feb. 23-24 and April 7-8 will be added as reading days.

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Alex Venero

Central library on Vanderbilt’s campus. (Alex Venero/Hustler Multimedia)

Jessica M. Barker, News Editor

All undergraduate programs as well as the Graduate School will have exam and major assignment-free reading days on Feb. 23-24 and April 7-8. Students will still be required to attend class.

This announcement was made in an email from Provost Susan R. Wente, Vice Provost Vanessa Beasley and the Interim Dean of the Graduate School Bunmi Olatunji. The email states that not only will exams and major assignments not be due on these days, but in the period immediately following them as well.

“We are also asking students not to travel outside of the greater Nashville area at any time during the semester, including during any of these reading days,” the email reads.

The travel restriction is consistent with what the university asked students to do during the Fall 2020 semester.

The announcement of the reading days comes after the release of the Spring 2021 schedule, which did not include a spring break or any other breaks during the semester. This announcement also follows the provost’s establishment of an ad hoc committee tasked with making “wellness day” recommendations. 

Last semester, students created a petition entitled “Give Students a Day Off” which asked for a day break during the Fall 2020 semester. As of publication, the petition has over 1,600 signatures. The Fall 2020 semester did not contain any additional reading days or days off.

“The absence of a spring break was a difficult decision, but it is a necessary precaution to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible,” the email reads. “However, we know it is equally necessary to protect the ongoing wellness of our students—and to do this we must ensure that the rate and pace of our learning and discovery includes time to reflect and to care for one another.”

The email concluded by encouraging students to “make use of the many mental health resources and student organizations that support our students.”