HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – First colleges canceled fall break, now spring break is on the chopping block.

Many universities in our area are altering the spring calendar to discourage travel and the chances of COVID-19 spread.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reports, scenes from spring break 2020 set off alarms as the coronavirus pandemic first gripped the nation. Revelers brought the virus back to campuses and communities.

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Now some colleges in New York are ensuring that doesn’t happen here. They’ve canceled spring break.

Among them is Hofstra University.

“We felt building in a break where students leave and travel increased the chances they will be somewhere of a super spreader state,” said Dr. Herman Berliner, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Hofstra. “And for safety concerns the spring break really needed to go.”

In its place, five separate mental health or catch up days off – never on a Friday or Monday – in order to discourage unsafe travel that could bring COVID to campus.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Students say they’ll miss their rite of passage.

“People going out on flights, other places, who knows what you’re bringing back,” said Justin Shah, a college junior.

“Of course there is disappointment around not having a week of spring break but given the circumstances… I’m happy they did it so soon before plans are made,” said junior Katelyn Boncaro.

Stony Brook University has also canceled spring break and is condensing its semester.

“We decided we will start the semester a week late, February 1, to avoid the most challenging time of the year where flu virus and COVID could interact and that would give students a longer break between semester… and then forgo the spring break,” said Laura Lindenfeld, vice provost of Stony Brook University.

University officials say they’ve managed to avoid large outbreaks and closures by altering the academic calendar.

Some of those proceeding with spring break say COVID testing will be implemented for all students returning to campus.

It remains to be seen how school districts will manage with holiday breaks fast approaching.

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