Proposed legislation would give Pa. students excused absence days to focus on mental wellness

Written by on June 1, 2021

Proposed legislation from a state senator would give Pennsylvania students excused absence days to focus on their mental wellness

By Julia Agos / WITF

June 1, 2021

State Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) wants to give students a break.

Senate Bill 506 would allow public school students from kindergarten through 12th grade to take two wellness days a semester as long as they have a note from a parent indicating their approval.

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Schwank says the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for more mental health assistance for students.

“We are talking about kids from the time they start school, even the youngest, face so many pressures and getting up every day and going to school is not that easy sometimes. And even they would, you know, could use just a day off once in a while,” Schwank says. 

Schwank points to studies that show anxiety rates among students on the rise with about one in four reporting heightened symptoms.

The proposal, which is waiting to be taken up by the education committee, has support from the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association.

Similar bills have been passed in Utah and Colorado.

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