Bridgewater Channel

Lake Havasu City’s Bridgewater Channel is usually packed with spring breakers in March and April, but it could be a different story in 2021 as colleges and universities around the nation are starting to announce changes to the traditional week-long vacation period.

Spring breakers are still expected in Lake Havasu City come March, but just how large the flood of student visitors will be remains murky as some universities cancel the week of freedom in the face of covid-19.

University of Arizona is among the nation’s schools announcing spring break cancellations. The move intends to limit the spread of covid-19 cases on campus — a trend that many schools across the country saw last March after students traveled far and wide, creating outbreaks of the disease upon their return.

So far, Grand Canyon University, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University all still have the break listed on their academic calendars. However, as is the nature of functioning in a pandemic, that still has potential to change, depending on the situation as the holiday nears.

As an alternative to a week of vacation, UA is instead speckling the semester with days off here and there, called “Reading Days,” in an effort to still provide breaks for students and staff. This same method is being used in several schools across the U.S.

So what does that mean for Havasu, a city that thrives on tourism and has learned to prepare for busy holidays, like spring break?

Whatever the numbers end up being, the pandemic and cancellations are expected to impact spring break 2021, according to local tourism leaders. At this point, it’s hard to say what exactly that impact may look like.

“It’s especially difficult to speculate since each day, week, and month recently have required everyone to be extremely fluid in how we act and react to the pandemic,” Matt Brewster, president of the Lake Havasu Hospitality Association, said. “For example, when this all started, Lake Havasu was in a real bad spot with all of the shutdowns and it was bleak at best, but in very little time, we found ourselves the hub of a lot more activity than anyone would have expected — in some cases, more activity than previous years.”

Brewster also believes it’s a possibility that students could be just as “wound up and in need of some much-needed outdoor activity” as boaters have been — in which case, they’ll be prepared to pump up coronavirus precautions.

“Even with students who have had spring break canceled, they may still want to enjoy that day or two of ‘Reading Days’ sitting on the beach with a good book here in Havasu,” he added.

For now, the Lake Havasu Hospitality Association is continuing to follow state health guidance while developing protocols for spring break 2021, Brewster said, noting that their plans are fluid and will change based on current information.

Summer Winter Action Tours, a company that organizes spring break festivities and events in Havasu, is returning to Havasu for 2021 after three years of absence. Terence Concannon, GoLakeHavasu president, said he hasn’t spoken with SWAT about the cancellations yet, but he plans to chat with them this week.

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