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Illustration by Erica Dean | The Signal

Spring break is around the corner, and students are deserving. 

After what followed our 2020 spring break, students are excited to inch toward normalcy in 2021. COVID-19 numbers are slowly going down while vaccine numbers are going up. Georgia State students will have a chance to get away from online schoolwork for a week safely. Unfortunately, other institutions are choosing a different route. 

The University of Georgia is among some universities, such as the University of South Carolina, that have opted out of spring break. Institutions give three “wellness days” sprinkled throughout the semester. Under the circumstances, risk and reward are being factored into the decision. 

Even though this decision is said to be based on students’ safety and well-being, many feel it is a misstep. 

One of the main reasons universities are at least giving wellness days is for students’ mental health. In January 2021, 4 in 10 adults reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. The results were a jump from 1 in 10 in January 2019. 

Students need more than a day off; spring break rejuvenates students before the semester’s final stretch. Even though universities say a wellness day is good enough, we are not buying it. 

“The week of this ‘mental health day’ was actually one of my heaviest school work-load weeks that I have experienced yet,” Lily Brogan, a freshman at the University of Georgia, said. “Sure, I didn’t have class. However, I spent pretty much all of my ‘mental health day’ doing homework and assignments. Professors actually seemed to assign more work this week to compensate for us being given this day off.” 

The whole reason this is a conversation is due to the pandemic. It is something we still need to monitor and act accordingly. However, students will always go out to bars, go in and out of town, and go to college events. 

Back in August, the university community criticized Greek life at UGA for its insensitivity to the pandemic. This behavior is a commonality across America; COVID-19 will not stop some from doing what they want to do. 

“Most of my classes are predominantly online,” Brogan said. “Because of this class format, many of my friends go home or go on trips, even as classes are still in session. Because students are traveling and going home anyway, I see no reason why spring break needs to be replaced by mental health days.” 

Everyone has different opinions on how the university system should handle this pandemic. However, students at least deserve this spring break. Unfortunately, there is a lack of compassion as institutions deal with different obstacles, Georgia State included. 

“I feel that college students deserve a spring break this semester more than ever. The past year has been the most emotionally draining year of my life,” Brogan said. “I think that a break during this semester would not only improve academic performance but would also have many positive outcomes on students’ mental health in the long run.”