Optional Remote Days: A Mental Health Necessity


Since March, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought nothing but stress to students’ lives. From not knowing whether school will take place in the familiar hallways of LHS, to increasing social isolation, students have been trying to learn while the world surrounding them fills with uncertainty. On occasion, hybrid students – those who come to school every other day – choose to stay home on one of their in-school days. LHS has considered implementing regulations on this policy, doling out punishment to students who stay home on days they are not assigned to do so. While some students do abuse the hybrid policy and stay home “just because,” most students only opt to stay home when it is absolutely necessary. Having the ability to take remote days when a student needs them is crucial to maintaining a healthy mental state and remaining involved in one’s learning, both online and in the classroom.

When the school year began, students were eager to get back into their classrooms. However, as the reality of learning during a pandemic sets in, the classroom no longer seems so appealing. No one can pretend that this school year feels remotely similar to years passed, when the hallways filled with laughter and community. Now, students are forced to follow arrows to their next classroom, losing themselves in a maze of masked faces without being able to physically reach out for help. 

For many students, this year presents more challenges than any other. “Honestly, everyone is going through something right now,” said junior Emmie Paladino. “Many students at LHS have family members who are sick and people they are scared to expose to the virus. If there is a case in the school, students should be able to decide whether or not it is right for them to go into the building at this time,” added Paladino. With Covid-19 cases increasing during the winter months, some students and parents feel more comfortable at home right now. This does not mean that students want to give up their hybrid learning entirely; they may just need some time away from the building, a temporary leave.

Not only has the pandemic induced medical worries for students, but social and mental issues are also prevalent in many students’ lives right now. Junior Kate Dooling said, “I feel physically safe from the virus in the building. But some days, it’s just hard to sit in school, isolated all day. It’s a very different learning environment from what I am used to. On stressful and mentally-taxing days, I feel better learning from the comfort of my own home.”

 Some believe that students are taking the “easy way out” by choosing to stay home, maybe to avoid a test or just out of pure laziness. While in a few cases this might be true, it is unfair to generalize students as “cheaters” or “lazy” when they could quite possibly be dealing with a bigger challenge in their personal lives. “This is truly a time of unknown,” said junior Isabella Sferrazza. “Every day, someone is walking around dealing with something going on in their lives, especially during this school year. I think LHS is doing right by their students and giving them the resources to help students socially and mentally during this time period, but we are still tired, lonely, and stressed-out. Giving students the opportunity to stay home a few days to recoup and recover mentally is a necessity during this ongoing pandemic,” said Sferrazza.

 During these unprecedented times, students’ mental and physical health should be the top priority, along with their ability to maximize educational opportunity in this new environment. By keeping the policy that allows hybrid students to stay home when they are scheduled to be in school, students are able to remain in control of their health, education, and well-being.