New Hanover County Schools cancels classes Nov. 12 for mental health day

New Hanover County Schools is giving students Nov. 12 off as a “Wellness Day.” (Port City Daily photo/Williams)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — New Hanover County Schools canceled classes Friday, Nov. 12, for a “wellness day,” joining a number of other school districts in the state that have set aside time to preserve students’ and staff’s mental health.

For staff, the day will be an undesignated workday. Teachers can either take personal leave or will receive a remote work option.

Schools are closed the day prior for Veteran’s Day. The day off will give students a four-day weekend to recoup.


“To our teachers and staff, we see you,” board of education chair Stefanie Adams said Thursday in a specially called virtual meeting. “We know how hard you’re working, and we know that it has been an incredibly difficult year.”

Johnston County was the latest school system to schedule a mental health day, announcing this past week two wellness days for students and staff and one optional workday in November. Wake, Durham and Cumberland counties’ public schools also designated a mental health day for students and staff, with employees asked to work from home. Chapel Hill-Carrboro extended Thanksgiving break and announced students would have relaxed schedules on “Mindful Mondays” and “Wellness Wednesdays.”

Statewide, teachers are reporting burnout. Board member Pete Wildeboer said he received one email from a constituent that questioned whether a tired and worn-out teaching assistant was better than one who was revitalized.

“We’ve got to do something. We’ve got to listen to what they’re saying, and I’m sorry, but it’s –– I’ve been there. A lot of us have,” board member Hugh McManus said. “They need it. They deserve it. They’ve earned it.”

New Hanover County has had a particularly rough starting quarter, with a shooting at New Hanover High the second week of school. The incident placed several schools on lockdown or shelter in place. This week the sheriff’s office reported two different Snapchat threats involving Hoggard High, leading to one arrest of a Pender County teen. The sheriff’s spokesperson said there was also an unrelated fight on campus, which prompted many parents to pick their teens up for the day.


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