Penn State’s decision to cancel spring break shouldn’t come as a surprise to students, as it is the best decision for the physical health and safety of the Penn State and State College communities.
While canceling spring break will hopefully deter travel, it will definitely take a mental toll on the Penn State community.
Breaks from school and work are only standard so people can unwind and escape from stress-filled days.
Fifteen weeks in a row of mixed-mode instruction with no breaks is asking a lot of students and faculty, and some have already taken to social media to express frustration regarding the decision.
Penn State needs to find ways to eliminate academic burnout and keep students engaged, but also mentally safe.
Believe it or not, Zoom fatigue is real. It is exhausting sitting in front of a computer where you are forced to focus so intently on your screen with so many distractions surrounding you.
Zoom-free days, built-in mental health days or catch-up days could be beneficial for the mental health and wellbeing of students and faculty members.
If Penn State does not want to set up universal “off days,” it should encourage instructors to add breaks to courseloads.
We can’t expect Penn State to solve everyone’s mental health problems this spring semester.
Unfortunately, mental health was already an issue many college students struggled with, and the pandemic has only made it worse.
According to the American Psychological Association, 41.6% of college students reported being anxious due to changes presented throughout this year and 36.4% reported experiencing depression. Additionally, 19% of Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors reported inadequate availability of psychiatric services on college campuses.
Boston University further supported these findings, reporting that during March, April and May, 60% of students said the pandemic made accessing mental health services on campus more difficult.
As Penn State brings students back for a long spring semester, it should make mental health resources more accessible and widely known on campus.
Ultimately, there’s only so much the university can do, but it must do what it can to mitigate mental health problems next semester.
Daily Collegian Opinion Editor Ashley Hayford can be reached at email@example.com.