Spring break is back this semester after it was canceled last year because of COVID-19, and students said they were glad to have a whole week off again.
The Daily Gamecock asked students if they planned to travel during this year’s spring break and if the continued presence of COVID-19 and its variants would be a concern.
Many students said they planned trips for the break. Some said the virus was not a serious concern at all for their spring break plans.
Meghan Reynolds, a third-year biological sciences student, said she has had COVID-19 twice and is no longer worried about the virus.
“I’m not concerned,” Reynolds said. “I think, if I die, I die.”
First-year nursing student Shelby Mauldin said she was less concerned about catching COVID-19 while she traveled than she would have been last year because of how many of her friends have contracted the virus.
“If I do get it, I know what I'm going to do and my plan of quarantine and everything, so I'm not that stressed about it,” Mauldin said.
Many students, like second-year nursing student and hospital worker Jordyn Hughes, said they planned to continue to try and limit the spread of the virus while they traveled, whether by wearing masks or socially distancing.
“I'm trying to get to the point where yes, being safe but also returning to some form of normalcy,” Hughes said.
Many students said their vaccination status and tendency to follow COVID-19 protocols made them feel more comfortable traveling.
“I'm not too worried. I mean, I'm fully vaccinated with the booster, and I'm young and fit, go to the gym, so I'm not too worried about it. But just don't be stupid, like, go to a club with no mask or something like that,” Garret Bolton, a first-year sports and entertainment management student, said.
However, not all students shared this sentiment.
Latoria Johnson, a third-year public health student, said she planned to take a train to New Orleans during spring break. However, the last time she took the train, she caught COVID-19, so she plans to be more careful this time around.
“I am kind of worried,” Johnson said. “I think the best thing I can do to avoid touching stuff is probably try to be a little more sanitary.”
Some students said while they still traveled, COVID-19 concerns often made them think twice about where they went.
“That's one of the reasons I didn't plan to go out of the country, because I knew I could take a COVID test, and there's always a chance that I can test positive,” Quinn Murray, a second-year retailing student, said.
Several students said they were worried about COVID-19 infections increasing as students returned to campus after the break.
“I live with people who are immunocompromised, so it’s like, I want to still take your health into consideration, even though other people wouldn’t,” Shamaria Young, a third-year psychology pre-med student, said.
Young said she is concerned about going to in-person classes in the days after spring break.
“As a public health major, I just have to think about the spread. As much fun as I'd like to have as my last year on spring break, I have to be cognizant of the fact that I could bring back COVID and one of it's thousands of varieties — at this point — back to campus and that could end up being detrimental for commencement and everything else that's supposed to happen after spring break,” fourth-year public health student Reylan Cook said.
Students said they were excited for a traditional spring break to return partly because a full week off makes it easier to travel than the scattered mental health days provided throughout the spring 2021 semester.
“It's nice that I have an extended period of time to go visit my family cause — what just one or two days sporadically — I can't go home because I'm from out of state,” first-year pre-business student Morgan Fisher said.
Students also said they thought a full week was more effective for students to destress from the workload of the spring semester.
“My professors still assigned stuff that was kind of like due that week, so I still had to do homework on those days, but I feel like spring break will be just a good break. I can take my mind off things,” Alex Karp, a fourth-year public health student, said.