St. Augustine’s students to get a ‘wellness day’ on Wednesday; no classes or assignments

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — On Wednesday, students at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh will have a wellness day to focus on their mental health.

There will be no classes or assignments.

“If you need to nap, nap. If you need to walk, walk. Just breathe,” said Dr. Josiah Sampson, provost and vice president of academic affairs, when asked what students should spend the day doing.

Schools in the area are starting to put a bigger focus on mental health. UNC-Chapel Hill gave students a day off earlier this month.

“Everyone has been under extra pressure to stay safe, stay away from people, keep your mask on and still continue with normal activities,” said Sampson.

With classes having the option to be virtual, Sampson recognizes students are dealing with more stress and fewer breaks.

“They have all their classes to do. There’s even an increased load because virtual classes mean that you can be in class all the time every time,” he said.

CBS 17 spoke with a freshman student on campus who only wanted to go by the name Jae. He said having the day off means he can catch up on school work and believes allowing students breaks every now and then will help in the long run.

“I got some work I got to catch up on…so I really needed it myself…[It will take] us further in life focusing on our self. As they say, health is wealth,” said Jae.

Sampson says universities and school districts putting a focus on mental health is a trend that will continue in the years to come.

“You cannot ignore mental health. Stress makes people not perform, it makes them ill, so we want to do everything we can to make sure we’re taking care of our students,” he said.

The day off is only for students. Faculty and staff are still working but their workload will be lighter. Sampson says the university does plan on offering more wellness days for the spring semester.

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