Wellness day presented unfair procedures regarding attendance


Photo by Abby Nevin '23

The first of planned Wellness Activity Days occurred on Oct. 20, yet many students chose to depart prior.

Mental health is a very serious issue across the country, and teenagers are feeling the effects in full blast. To combat this, however, Staples recently instituted a ‘Wellness Activity Day’ to take place monthly for a single hour.  The first Wellness Day took place on Oct. 20. However, there was a serious problem with the system in place: event attendance and the inherent unfairness with it.

Seniors were permitted to leave the activities early in the inaugural wellness period. The reason behind it, according to the administration, was for them to prepare for the Homecoming dance that took place this past Saturday. For other grades, however? They were ‘forced’ to stay for the activities.  While staying makes sense for freshmen and sophomores who aren’t able to drive, most juniors do drive to school and should have also been awarded the opportunity to drive away from the hour of activities.

Even though juniors were supposed to stay, many students, mostly juniors, chose to depart the school prior to the activities. This was due to the lack of incentive to stay as many juniors don’t seem to find yard games, ping pong and ice cream appealing. To me, this suggests that the administration should have taken a different approach.

One, it should have been made mandatory for all grades. The next one of these days is required for all grades, but it has already been proven that students will still leave early, even though attendance is ‘mandatory.’ 

The other change, and in my opinion what should have happened from the start, is to scrap the hour and simply give students two or three mental health days this year. However, that is an entirely different topic valid for a more thorough analysis in itself, along with the potential of moving it to a different time slot in the day so students cannot leave as easy.

According to NPR, since the pandemic began last year, 80% of teenagers in this country have suffered some kind of mental health issue and while the idea of a wellness day may seem wise on paper, there certainly is much room for improvement, especially regarding attendance policies surrounding the event.

According to NPR, since the pandemic began last year, 80% of teenagers in this country have suffered some kind of mental health issue.

— Finnegan Courtney ’23

Henceforth, I urge the administration to reconsider their course of action with this event. Either scrap it entirely or take a serious look at the policies and incentives for students to go because right now, it’s on track for an even lower turnout the next time.