Wellness days to replace spring break holiday, encourage students to take care of themselves



There are four scheduled wellness days scattered throughout the spring semester. Students can take care of themselves by taking a break from devices and move their bodies.

The Student Success Center announced that spring break will be replaced by wellness days this semester, but what are wellness days and where did this decision come from?

According to Provost Vice President for Academic Affairs, Andrew Prall, it was a decision suggested by SGA and overall approval stemmed from COVID-19 mitigation efforts. 

What became immediately clear to the COVID-19 taskforce while looking at available data — which included faculty, staff across campus in different areas in different divisions and a student representative that was selected by student government — that incidents of COVID-19 will spike and they tend to spike anytime that you have two or more consecutive days off during the semester. 

“We actually saw this happen on campus during the fall semester with regard to [the] Labor Day holiday, in which that number of students who had to quarantine spiked in the period after Labor Day, and it seemed to be very much connected to the Labor Day weekend in the days off.” Prall said.  

Using previously examined data, the medical advisors consulting the university on their response to the pandemic concluded that the longer breaks are health and safety risks. 

Despite this, not all schools implemented such precautions. The University of Texas at Austin will have spring break as previously scheduled and the spring calendar will remain the same as previous years. Texas A&M has reduced spring break to one day, Fri. March 29, to minimize extensive travel. 

The taskforce formed in late-August  and wrapped up work in September 2020. They recommended the president introduce wellness days into the spring calendar, but the idea of wellness days actually originated in part from the feedback that they received from SGA. 

“That proposal was approved by the taskforce as part of its recommendation to intersperse these wellness days periodically throughout the spring semesters such that every three to four weeks, we have either [a] wellness day or a holiday,” Prall said.  “We were able to incorporate one of the wellness days prior to final exams to the spring, which actually honored a proposal that came forward from the students last year, in which they hoped to introduce what was called a “dead day” prior to[the] final exam period.” 

Instead of a full week of spring break, St. Edward’s will have three wellness days throughout the spring semester. Thursday, Feb. 11 marked the first wellness day and is followed by one on Wednesday, March 10, and another on April 10, the Friday before finals. The semester will end as scheduled on May 3.

During the March wellness day, Student Involvement has planned a virtual financial education webinar on Zoom on Wed., March 10 at noon that covers personal money management. This event will be “giving tips on creating and following a budget as well as using credit wisely and saving for the future,” according to an email sent by Student Involvement. A mini golf tournament will be hosted from noon to 4 p.m. in the Mabee Ballrooms. Students can also stream the volleyball match against Texas A&M International at 5p.m on the Lonestar Conference website.  

During the April wellness day, the involvement center is planning an end of the year party on campus. The St. Edward’s men’s baseball team game against West Texas A&M at 2 p.m can also be streamed on the Lone Star Conference website, according to Student Involvement.

Holy Thursday on April 10 is also affected by the schedule changes, in which classes after 4p.m. will be cancelled. Easter break is shortened to Good Friday on April 2 and classes plan to resume on Monday, April 5.