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Penn State To Implement Three ‘Wellness Days’ During Spring Semester

Penn State will add three non-instructional “wellness days” to its spring semester calendar in the absence of spring break, the university announced Friday.

Wellness days will be held on Tuesday, February 9, Thursday, March 11, and Wednesday, April 7.

The new “wellness days” will be designated non-instructional days where no classes are held. The days apply to undergraduate students, graduate students, and instructors across all campuses. On each designated day, Penn State’s offices will remain open.

“With three wellness days, we will have one day in each full month throughout the spring semester to take a pause in teaching and learning and to focus on wellness, self-care and the health of our community in these unprecedented times,” Provost Nick Jones said. “We have scheduled these wellness days after receiving input from a breadth of audiences, including hundreds of instructors and students, and we have taken careful consideration to choose different days of the week so that no course will be impacted disproportionately.”

Special programs are being developed to discourage travel amid the pandemic and to support and engage students. Programs will span a range of topics, including physical and mental health, spiritual wellness, and social connection.

“We understand there may be circumstances where exceptions need to be made,” Yvonne Gaudelis, associate vice president and senior associate dean for Undergraduate Education, said. “And we are working with different teams to coordinate efforts and make sure the spirit of wellness days and access to programming are available to all Penn State students, instructors and staff, regardless of program or location.”

Academic heads will determine how to recognize wellness days for their individual circumstances, such as nursing students who have clinical days. Planning efforts are in place to account for courses with a lab component.

A planning team committee is partnering with the Faculty Senate to survey students, faculty, and staff to identify the best approach to wellness days and decide on what activities will best support and engage the community.

Provost Jones reiterated the importance of working together to maintain the health and well-being of the Penn State community during the pandemic.

“Wellness days are a reminder to tap into the many programs and support services Penn State offers for students, instructors and staff,” Provost Jones said. “And that we need to practice self-care every day — now more than ever.”

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

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a washed-up biology grad and former associate editor. Her legacy will live on through stories like “10 Questions With State College Sensation ‘Hot UPS Bae’”. If you’re a STEM girlie, this is your sign to take the leap of faith and learn to write. It’s pretty fun. Colleen misses the hate mail and can be reached at [email protected] or via LinkedIn.

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