Editorial: Should RHS Have More Wellness Days? 

Emily Lindsey, Staff Reporter 

Wellness Days are like a mini vacation after a few tough weeks at school; they are needed and well deserved. At RHS, however, there are a meager 15 Wellness Days scheduled throughout the entire school year, sometimes only appearing once a month on the school calendar.

This is simply not enough for high school students who are overwhelmed with after-school activities, clubs, community service and other obligations like doctor’s appointments or their social lives. Adding several hours of homework to the daily list makes for one sleep deprived, sullen teenager.

Kidshealth.org recommends eight to 10 hours of sleep a night for teens, but this just isn’t the reality for most students. “On some of the hard days, I have around four hours of homework, but on easier days, it’s usually two and a half,” says freshman honors student Keili Semler. “I wake up at six, but if I wasn’t able to finish [my homework the night before], I’ll wake up at five.” So how much sleep does she get? “Five or six hours most nights,” Semler calculates.

Some teachers may argue that procrastination and distractions like technology chip away at time that could be used for homework, and they may be right. However, let’s be honest; all students need regular breaks if they’re going to succeed in the long run.

There are many students like Semler who sometimes find it necessary to wake up at 5 a.m. and then spend the seven hours at school between 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., cramming new information into their brains. Even during their free time, like at lunch, students are often hunched over their binders in the Media Center or working feverishly in an open classroom. After school, extracurricular activities like clubs and sports can take upward of two hours.

The fact is that most students are drained the minute they get home. Teenagers need time to decompress and do what they enjoy, not continue working all night like machines in order to enhance their college applications or resumes. Watching a TV show or exploring a personal interest shouldn’t be seen as a distraction, it should be considered a necessity.

This can all be solved with a greater number of Wellness Days. True to their name, Wellness Days are about mental health and taking time out to relax. No new homework can be assigned on these days, and no large projects or tests can be scheduled for the next day.

Wellness Days let students rest their brains, enjoy a night of stress-free sleep and avoid burnout without sacrificing class time, which is why they should be implemented more frequently. Ensuring at least two Wellness Days each month is a small change, but it would make all the difference in students’ emotional and physical health and happiness.