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Oshkosh schools to consider mental health days for staff

Posted at 4:36 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 15:17:17-05

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Three Oshkosh Area School District staff members are requesting "mental health and wellness days" for the 2021-22 school year.

According to the agenda for tonight's board of education meeting, February 17th and 18th would become a mental health and wellness break from the stressors occurring as a result of post-COVID.

"Overwhelming feelings of stress and anxiety can cause people to feel exhausted, which leads to decreased productivity," the agenda item says. "For a one-year solution, the two mental health days would allow staff to decompress and recover from burnout. This is an incentive, similar to what businesses and universities across the country are offering. The strategy is to retain exceptional employees."

There are currently nearly six banked inclement weather/snow/emergency days built into the calendar, and the proposal would retain two of those days for mental health and wellness days, which would allow for three and eight-tenths of snow/emergency days to remain, the agenda item says.

During a school board meeting on Wednesday December 1st, staff members brought forward the proposal, which all of the board members were enthusiastic about.

“We've talked to many staff members and we've witnessed many things in buildings," said Kim Brown, Director of Learning. "And I think they would feel as if they're being heard and seen.”

The mental health and wellness break would be two paid days off not just for teachers, but for all staff members who work for the District who might not normally get paid on snow days.

“We know that our paraprofessionals and food service and custodians, everybody in our system has gone above and beyond," said Bryan Davis, Superintendent.

The board members will meet again on December 15th, and they will publish a new calendar for the 2021-22 school year at that time.