Second ‘mental health day’ causes controversy among students


Natalie Tryon

In hopes to keep COVID-19 numbers low, Simpson discouraged travel by canceling spring break.

by Morgan Parrish, Staff Reporter

April 5 served as one of three mental health days allotted to Simpson students this semester. 

Easter, a day students, and faculty would already expect off in previous years. 

Simpson decided to cancel spring break this semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To replace the break that students usually get, Simpson added a few days to the 2020 Christmas break and placed two days off throughout the spring semester, considered mental health days.

Sophomore Lucy Cockrell, an English major, went home for the extended weekend to spend Easter with her family and celebrate her grandma’s 80th birthday. Even though she gets to go home, she does not think the break is long enough to allow students to take a break.

“The way that our semester has been chunked together, to not give us time to rest and recharge, has really affected a lot of people mentally,” said Cockrell.

Cockrell stated that it would be beneficial to have more days off.

“I have taken many of my own mental health days off and tried to participate on Zoom when possible,” said Cockrell.

Junior Jessica Wood, a marketing communications major, said she stayed on campus for the weekend because having only one extra day off is not worth the two-and-a-half-hour drive back home.

“I think it is kind of ridiculous that Simpson is saying that these are mental health days whenever it is a holiday. I don’t think there can be a true mental health day unless the administration is talking to faculty members and telling them absolutely no homework on these days, don’t expect them to do anything; we need them to take the time to recharge and be ready, and that our faculty and staff should do the same,” said Wood. 

Wood also believes that Simpson should be giving students and faculty more days off.

“I think a lot of students and teachers are feeling extreme burnout, and it is really difficult to stay on top of classes but also stay motivated to do day-to-day things without falling behind in everything else. Between full-time classes and work, it is too much, and it is not worth it for a lot of us to go home because we live so far away. Some of my friends from out of state haven’t seen their parents since Christmas break, and that can be hard,” said Wood.

Students find themselves using their days off to catch up on classes because they are constantly falling behind due to not having any consecutive days off.

Junior Hannah Spencer, a forensic science major, is also staying on campus to do homework and catch up on classes.

“Even when we had spring break, it would still feel like that wasn’t enough, so just having one day that we should get off anyways just does not feel like enough,” said Spencer.

Spencer does not think this second mental health day should be called a mental health day when it is a holiday.

“They make it sound like they are giving it to us out of their generosity when it should already be expected from them, so if they did want to give us a mental health day, they could do that by giving us a different day off,” said Spencer. 

Students believe they need a more extended break, even during a pandemic.