As spring breakers have started to flock to beach destinations in Florida and Texas — largely not wearing masks or adhering to physical distancing — health experts are, once again, urging all Americans to stay home. "[The] CDC recommends that people not travel at this time, and delay spring break travel until 2022," a CDC spokesperson told The Washington Post. "Even for those who are vaccinated, it is important to avoid travel to decrease the chance of spreading COVID-19 to others."
To provide incentive for college students to stay on campus during spring break, the University of California, Davis, is offering $75 grants. The university partnered with the Healthy Davis Together organization to offer the grant, which can be redeemed for supplies in four categories — Get Active, Get Artsy, Home Improvement, and Let's Stay In — UC Davis chancellor Gary May explained in his weekly update on March 5, saying that the response "has been awesome so far."
A week later, he updated the campus community: "Response was overwhelming, so much so that we boosted the number of grants from 500 to 750 and now 2,000 (at least)!" May also noted that the money is coming from both federal and state grants for COVID-19 response, as well as philanthropic gifts to the Health Davis Together program.
He also said that one-third of the grant recipients chose to use their $75 in the Home Improvement category. "I am eager to hear about what these students and the other grant recipients are doing," he added. "We will be checking in with them and will let you know what we learn." Applicants had to provide a description of their spring break plans and commit to staying in town and taking a COVID-19 test.
About half of UC Davis' student population lives on or around the campus, with 4,000 on campus and 16,000 off campus but in town, according to the university's site. Since Sept. 14, the campus has had 504 positive cases and 217,499 tests performed.
"The idea behind this was to provide a positive incentive for students to follow public health guidance," Sheri Atkinson, the school's associate vice chancellor of student affairs, told the Los Angeles Times.
Other schools have been discouraging spring break travel by eliminating days off entirely. On that list are the University of Michigan, University of Tennessee, Baylor University, and the University of Florida, ABC News reported, as well as Yale University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, and the University of Kentucky, according to Fox 59.
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