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Penn State Creating Non-Instructional ‘Wellness Days’ For Spring Semester

Penn State will add an unspecified number of non-instructional days to its spring semester calendar in the absence of spring break, the university announced Thursday.

These dates, known as “wellness days,” will be designated non-instructional days for students and instructors. Although no classes will be held, Penn State’s offices will remain open.

“The health and safety of our community during the ongoing pandemic has guided our decision-making for spring semester and the subsequent elimination of spring break. We also know it’s important to practice self-care and take care of our mental well-being,” Penn State President Eric Barron said. “Our community is dealing with added stressors and pressure from COVID-19, and the addition of wellness days will provide a break from course instruction and offer additional programming to support instructors, students and staff.” 

Penn State hasn’t yet finalized dates for wellness days or even settled on an approximate number of them. The university is forming a dedicated committee, headed by Student Affairs officials, Faculty Senate members, and professors, to identify “the approach, including the number of days, the timing, and the types of activities” wellness days will cover.

The university also said it’s currently working on developing “special programs” on wellness days to further discourage travel and stimulate students, faculty, and staff.

“Everyone has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s important we as a community work together to maintain our health and well-being. Programs offered on wellness days will be designed to help us stay connected with others, while providing access to resources to help us all have a successful spring semester,” Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones said.

Wellness days’ addition comes after Penn State said it would eliminate spring break due to the coronavirus pandemic. Administrators believed a week-long break would prompt students to travel home or around the country, potentially inadvertently spreading the coroanvirus in the process.

Penn State’s spring semester will begin the week of January 18 and stretch for 15 straight weeks through early May. Although spring break is canceled, the university still plans on observing select holidays, including Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt is a junior majoring in journalism and Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football aficionado, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza. He loves Seinfeld, is really into video games, and would wipe the floor with you in Halo. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ for bad sports takes or email him at [email protected]

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