The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday March 24th

Viewpoints: Are wellness days worth it?

Students gather on the quad, socially distanced, in front of Wilson Library on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020.
Buy Photos Students gather on the quad, socially distanced, in front of Wilson Library on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020.

With the University's last wellness day coming up this weekend, so is the conversation about the future of University breaks. 

Should wellness days remain in a post-pandemic world? Or should we return to our old normal of a traditional spring break?

Here are the Editorial Board's thoughts on the future of spring semester breaks:

Ben Rappaport, Editorial Board member:

We are burnt out, like a candle holder without any wax left. I ask my peers how they are doing, and the answer is a resounding “meh.” We are barely making it through, because the perpetual education machine has not come to a halt in months. 

We need a break, and a real one. Not just a day here or there, but a time to flee the responsibilities of learning and extracurriculars that we are expected to complete. The sprinkling of wellness isn't enough — just as soon as we relax, we are right back in the midst of a chaotic grind, expected to light back up again.

We need a return of spring break — because intermittent days off just don't cut it.

Annie Grace Plott, Editorial Board member:

There are several things that should stay when we transition to our post-pandemic lives — the ease of takeout, staying six feet away from other people and our wellness days are just a few. 

While yes, spring break is fun and everything, the wellness days essentially give us three breaks instead of one. You even have the potential to have more days off depending on how your classes line up. Not only that, but who doesn’t love having a short week? 

In the long run, wellness days give us more days off and shorten our work week, giving us more free time than we would ever have had pre-pandemic.

Abbas Hasan, Editorial Board member:

Fall semester was horrific. There were seemingly endless COVID-19 clusters, students were sent home within a week and the University had zero breaks. In response, the University somehow made a sound decision by implementing mental health breaks for the spring semester. 

This semester, the mental health weekends have been a useful way to break up the semester and provide some relief from the constant stress of being a student. The sporadic weekends have been beneficial compared to the hectic fall semester, but I am looking forward to returning to a traditional spring break. 

Four days isn’t enough time to fully recuperate and reenergize before returning to school. Hopefully, these mental health weekends will be a one-time event and we will be back to regular breaks soon.

JC Leser, Editorial Board member

Wellness days aren’t working the way they are supposed to work. I know too many people that have looked up from their work, exhausted, and told me that they can’t take a break, even on wellness days. Some professors have treated wellness days like extra study days, despite clear instruction from administration not to do so. 

Wellness days are great in theory, and, when used properly and mixed in with the University’s normal breaks, I think that student mental health will increase dramatically. 

Rest is good for us all, and driving students and professors to the bone results in lower quality work — which can be avoided by more wellness days, and respecting their sanctity.

Aditi Kharod, Editorial Board member:

Wellness days are a good concept, in theory. I found it marginally beneficial for the administration to mandate days that professors cannot schedule class or assign work. 

But I also really enjoyed having the longer fall and spring breaks. We may have had work to do throughout those breaks, but let’s face it: assignments don’t disappear during wellness days, either. 

The fact of the matter is that students are burnt out and tired every semester, regardless of which system is in place — which means UNC should consider implementing both wellness days and longer breaks going forward. Students need more breaks, not fewer.

Joseph Kargbo, Editorial Board member:

"The wellness day blues"

Spring break is no more.


Ten straight days to four.


Sporadic in time.


Brief moments sublime.


Profs giving us work.


Set guidelines they shirk.


Fun road trips one day.


Lest wellness days stay



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