Institute Syracuse University Spring 2021 Wellness Days

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Institute Syracuse University Spring 2021 Wellness Days

This petition made change with 2,399 supporters!
Spencer Pierce started this petition to Syracuse University and

On September 23rd, 2020, an email was sent by Chancellor Kent Syverud informing Syracuse University students that the spring semester would start on January 25th (which was later pushed back to February 8th) and that SU would eliminate spring break. 

The decision to eliminate spring break makes sense. It was done with the intention of keeping the SU community safe and to prevent students and faculty from traveling and potentially bringing the virus back to campus the next week. With that being said, it feels as though the administration has neglected students’ mental health needs by not implementing at least one wellness day throughout the year. 

The current decision forces students to attend 70(!) consecutive days of classes, over the course of 14 weeks. Thus, students will be forced to work nonstop, highly stressed for 14 straight weeks with no break to look forward to. In addition, after those 70 days of class, students are then expected to take their finals. Having no days off can also negatively impact teaching capabilities, mental health, and emotional wellbeing for professors and other faculty members. 

Academic burnout is real. It happens to students even when there are breaks or days off on the academic calendar. Zoom fatigue is also very real and can cause students to feel lonely, trapped, and distracted. This does not positively impact any party involved. Students want the best education they can get while SU should be willing to provide that for them. 

Given the clear impact to the SU community, the administration should be willing to implement at least one Wellness Day in the 70 day-period to allow students and faculty a much needed mental health, emotional, and physical break.

May the Syracuse University administration consider the following days off:

Wednesday, February 24th; Thursday, March 4th; Wednesday, March 24th
Tuesday, April 6th; Wednesday, April 21st; Thursday, May 6th. Why these days?

These selected dates are meant to disincentivize traveling and maintain COVID policies on SU's campus. 

By ignoring our request, the Syracuse University Administration will directly contribute to the decline of students' and faculty mental health. Students will go 14 straight weeks without any type of break or day off. 

Suggestions for what students can do on these wellness days:

Talks orchestrated by the Barnes Center at the Arch 
Mindfulness Activities
Promote clubs that discuss mental health (i.e. Social media posts to raise awareness, Host conversations)

Other colleges implementing Mental Health or Wellness breaks:

Duke University: https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2020/11/duke-university-spring-2021-calendar-now-includes-two-day-break-wellness-day

Boston University: https://www.bu.edu/provost/2021/01/13/announcement-of-two-wellness-days-in-spring-2021-semester/

Harvard: https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2020/10/30/fas-spring-2020-wellness-days/

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/09/21/colleges-make-plans-spring-cancel-break

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