To receive a gift card, students must apply by giving a basic description of their spring break plans. They must pledge to stay in town for their weeklong break and complete a COVID-19 test.
The university initially planned to give 750 such grants, but because of student interest, it upped the cap to 2,000. The anticipated $150,000 program will be paid through philanthropy and other university funds — not student fees or tuition, Atkinson said.
Colleges around the country are scaling back spring break or canceling it entirely to discourage partying that could spread the virus and raise infection rates back on campus.
Texas A&M University opted for a three-day weekend instead of a whole week off. The University of Alabama and the University of Wisconsin-Madison also did away with spring break but are giving students a day off later in the semester. University of Mississippi also canceled spring break but will end the semester a week early.