School System Sets Thanksgiving Break For Mental Health

CHAPEL HILL, N,.C. (AP) — Students in a North Carolina school system will have the entire week of Thanksgiving off to support students and staff members’ mental health and wellness, the district has announced.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools said the new days off, which also include an optional teacher work day and two new “wellness” days, are among several new initiatives the school board approved last week, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

In a presentation Thursday night, Superintendent Nyah Hamlett cited feedback from employees, students and families as reasons for the initiatives, which also include two years of retention bonuses for most district staff.

“I cannot express how much our students and staff are struggling. We need help,” said Madison Lin, student body president at Chapel Hill High School. “Our mental health is declining at an unsustainable rate.”

With the changes to the calendar, Monday, Nov. 22, is now an optional teacher workday with no students in school. The next two days are wellness days leading into Thanksgiving with neither students nor employees in schools.

Another wellness day is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, the system announced. A required teacher workday will now move to Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, according to the announcement.