Breaks allow students to unwind and destress after a long period of being at school. Some students use longer breaks like spring break to travel, visit family, or learn something new. Others use the time to rest, hang out with friends, or pursue an interest.
Long breaks like spring break are crucial to maintaining mental and physical wellness among students, as depression and sleep deprivation are on the rise. The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that almost 13% of teenagers experienced depression in the past year. Additionally, only 8% of high school students get the recommended amount of sleep, which is 9 ¼ hours. Contacting friends and catching up on sleep during breaks can reduce these problems.
However, breaks also have a downside. Because students have been absent for several school days, there is pressure to catch up on work when they get back. For freshman, large IBET project assignments are due only days after spring break ends. Students are assigned far more work than ordinary after a break.
It is difficult for students to adjust to being at school after several days of break. Students who have traveled experience jet lag, and it can take a week or longer for a normal sleep pattern to set in. Being assigned a deluge of work right after a long break would cause anyone stress, especially if they are underslept.
The reason for more assignments is understandable: projects must be finished by the end of the year, and teachers need to compensate for a week of missed work.
However, a better solution would be to have work spread out more evenly over the year. For instance, teachers could give students more opportunities to complete work before a break, so they don’t feel pressure to complete work during or right after break. Strategies like this could reduce stress for both students and faculty.