This is a question I get a lot from family members. Our students are excited to get a break from school while we as families hear the words “spring break” and we cringe. It’s okay. Spring break is not everything you see in the movies. Our students are taking part in Bear Breaks, an opportunity for a student to spend their Spring Break with fellow Bears immersed in a local community, providing needed services, experiencing a different culture and meeting new people. They are also working over the break, spending time with family, shadowing potential employers, taking part in mission trips and resting and relaxing with friends (very important).
This year, Spring Break will take place from Monday, March 13th to Sunday, March 19th. University offices will remain open to conduct business. Blair-Shannon, Freddy House, Wells House and Woods House will be closed for Spring Break (closing at 8am on March 11th and reopening at 8am on March 19th). There is limited on-campus housing in open buildings. Encourage your student to review the Bear Break Housing Request.
Spring Break should be a fun time for our students to de-stress, rest, and relax. But their safety and well-being is important also. Here are some tips you can share with your student so they do have a safe and fun break.
- Your student is going to be tired and will probably sleep a lot! This is a good thing. Getting lots of rest will get them motivated for the rest of the semester.
- Your student is going to want to see some friends over the break. Make it a point not to plan every minute of the break for them.
- Plan fun family time while your student is home. Family game night, movie night, favorite food night…these are all fun ways to get the family together to reconnect.
- Start the conversation about your student’s summer plans. Ask questions like “What have you been doing to find a summer internship?”
- If your student is traveling in their own vehicle, remind them to have the car serviced by a mechanic to ensure it can make a trip safely.
- Encourage your student to plan a route based on heavily-traveled highways and interstates. Suggest they familiarize themselves with the route before leaving.
- Ask your student to let you know when he or she is leaving, when he or she will return, and the route he or she is traveling. It’s also good to know where they are staying on the trip.
- Have a conversation with your student about being alert and aware of situations and people they encounter. They should not pick up hitchhikers, and they should be extremely cautious should they decide to stop for anyone on the side of the road.
- Students should research their destination country carefully for information on safety, law enforcement, entry/exit requirements, food/water safety, etc. The U.S. Department of State maintains Consular Information Sheets that provide extensive details about travel in other countries. Travel warnings can also be found on the U.S. Department of State web site.
- Special medical care, special vaccinations or medications to prevent common local diseases, may be needed before traveling to another country. The Center for Disease Control provides comprehensive health and vaccination information by country of destination. The Taylor Health and Wellness Center on campus may be able to provide these services.
- Encourage your student to make copies of all of their identification and plane tickets and store them in the hotel safe, not his or her room safe.
- Make sure you know about your student’s travel itinerary. You might want to know hotel information and transportation information, and you might also want copies of all of his or her important documents (passport, visa, driver’s license, plane tickets, etc.).
Fun and Sun
- Students should wear sunscreen with a “sun protection factor” (SPF) of at least 15 (higher if you burn easily or are taking medications that increase risk of sunburn). Remind them to reapply the sunscreen after swimming, sweating, and after the recommended time on the bottle.
- Sun damage and sunburns can occur even if you are not at the beach. Students should wear sunscreen even if it is cloudy or they are doing any activity around water or snow (skiing, snowboarding, etc.) since they both reflect light.
- They should wear sunglasses that block out harmful UVA and UVB rays, as well as protective clothing and hats.
- Avoiding the mid-day sun is important. The sun’s rays are most intense between 10:00am and 3:00pm.
- Students should also drink lots of water to avoid dehydration if they are in the sun.
- Students should make sure their name and address are not highly visible on their luggage so that people who know that you are away from home will not know where you live.
- While traveling, students can put their foot through the strap of a bag or purse to prevent leaving it behind or having it stolen.
- Students should be aware that pickpockets prey on people in crowds. They usually get close and bump into people without them noticing. Pickpockets also work in groups. One will distract while the other slips away with valuables.