Simpsonian File Photo
When Simpson College students checked the academic calendar this year, they may have been shocked to discover the absence of a long weekend following the first week of classes.
Labor Day, a day on which students and staff typically had off in the past, was a regular class day. The decision to hold classes on Labor Day has been met with mixed opinions.
Vice President for Student Development and Planning, Heidi Levine, supports having classes on the federal holiday.“The decision was based on considering the implications of having a long weekend immediately after new students have started their first semester,” Levine said. “It is far from ideal to have move-in, four days of classes, and then a long weekend.”
Many students were upset when they found out the college canceled the three-day weekend. Students like sophomore Sid Hudson hoped to take the extended weekend to de-stress and prevent early burnout.
“I was hoping to use Labor Day as a day to relax my mind,” Hudson said. “The first week of classes can be really stressful for some students, and having Monday as a day off would have been a great way to deal with the stress.”
However, Levine attests that it is not unusual for schools to hold classes on Labor Day.
“Over the course of my career, I have easily worked as many, if not more, Labor Days than I have had off,” Levine said.
According to the Sept. 3 edition of Campus Pulse, staff members are granted a floating holiday to use before the end of the semester in place of Labor Day. Students do not get any replacement for their missed holiday.
Research from the National Institute of Biotechnology Information suggests that three-day weekends may be better for students and their mental health. Having a long weekend has the potential to help improve student attendance in classes as well as lower dropout rates. Even a shorter break, like that of Labor Day weekend, provides an opportunity for extra rest and a less stressful environment for students and staff.
Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, meant to pay tribute to American workers’ social and economic contributions and achievements. For many younger Americans, Labor Day often represents the end of summer and a return to school.
Sophomore Karissa Steinke stated she believes Labor Day is an important American holiday.
“If Labor Day wasn’t important, then businesses and most schools wouldn’t be closed,” Steinke said. “Meanwhile, colleges like Central College are getting Labor Day off. They are able to see friends and family, even if it’s just for a short time, but it’s still some time.”