Mental Health Days for Students and Teachers


Shea Cline, Head-editor

At the West Virginia Board of Educations’ monthly meeting in Charleston, Dale Lee, President of the West Virginia Education Association, urged the BOE to give staff and students scheduled mental health days throughout the school year. Lee was joined by Fred Albert, President of The American Federation of Teachers West Virginia. “All of our educators are being pushed to the limits,” Lee said, “They’re at their breaking point,”

This sentiment is shared by students, staff, and parents throughout Greenbrier County.
“Mental Health Days for those working or attending school are vital, not just to remain physically healthy but emotionally as well, as we are still being bombarded daily by the effects of the pandemic while trying to excel in our places of work and education respectively,” said Tim Yunker, a teacher at Greenbrier West High School.

I reached out to Mike Hennessey, an Organizational Development Specialist with the WVEA (West Virginia Education Association), to ask him a few questions regarding mental health days. “Statistics have shown very troubling trends in the mental health of students and education employees. Even small efforts to help relieve and cope with stress caused by the pandemic can have great benefits.” Mike said, “The unknown duration of the pandemic makes it very important to pace ourselves for the “long haul”. Students and employees have to be given tools and resources to deal with the ever-changing COVID situations that our school systems are dealing with. The mental health day was just one of many possible ways to try to help with this.”

As the pandemic continues into the new year, it is important for us to continue to be vigilant as we protect ourselves and our communities. According to the CDC people with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), for people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days.