Man, oh man. The school I teach at has been overrun with a devastating epidemic of spring fever. The weather is gorgeous and the frisbees, hackey sacks, and revealing clothes are in full force. Since spring break ended, I'm down to about 40% attendance per class. I'm getting my ass kicked by good weather, and I don't know what to do about it.
I suspect that spring break itself is a major contributor. Like most schools, we are on a semester schedule, which means that spring break is a week-long interruption in an ongoing academic unit. I have found that for many students, it is extremely difficult or impossible to regain their prior focus on their studies. Many students physically do not return from spring break; many others return physically but not mentally.
I was once involved with a school that operated on a quarter system. At this school, spring break was located between quarters, so you would finish one set of projects and final exams, take a week off, and then start a new set of courses. It seemed to me to that students could focus on their classes after spring break much more easily. And this seems to me to be a very good reason to adopt the quarter system.
Another idea I had was to abolish spring break altogether. That way, you'd end the semester a week earlier, and thereby extend the summer by a week. Why not do that?
Of course, switching to quarters would fuck up a lot of other stuff, and spring-break abolitionism is completely unlikely to catch on.