Should Winter Break Be Longer?

After a long and harsh semester, winter break finally rolls around with a chance for students to spend more time with their families. This is especially beneficial for students suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder and those struggling with their mental health. However, with each break students are given, there is a rise in COVID-19 cases. This poses the question, should winter break be longer?

Each year, 5% of the US population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is caused by a lack of sunlight and is most common during winter. As a result of the shortened days, melatonin, a sleep-related hormone that affects both sleep patterns and mood, increases and is associated with symptoms of SAD.

Although treatment can include light therapy to decrease abnormal melatonin levels and antidepressants, many students don’t have access to these services. For students, winter break is something they all look forward to as a way to relax, and shorter breaks would only cause a decline in their mental health.

On the contrary, longer breaks could do more harm than good as they most likely will pose a threat to people’s safety. During winter break, many families get together to celebrate the holidays which increases their risk of getting COVID-19. The US has an average of 122,000 COVID-19 cases per day. More than 800,000 people have died in the US due to the virus and the numbers are expected to increase after the holidays.

In addition, about 40% of the US population is not fully vaccinated. A majority of the COVID-19 cases are in people who are not vaccinated. This may be due to the fear surrounding the vaccine. Yet CDC evidence shows that the vaccine is indeed effective and will help reduce the severe symptoms of the virus even after infection. 

If more people got vaccinated then the number of cases would decrease. Getting vaccinated will ensure a safer break for students to enjoy. However, it is uncertain that the number of people getting vaccinated will increase. There are risks on both sides. Shortening the break would take a negative toll on students’ mental health. However, making it longer will risk people’s safety from getting COVID-19.