New Wellness Center opportunity at Harwood Will it be used or abused?

By Karl Mazilli


At Harwood Union High school a new wellness center opened up for its first day on December 3rd, enabling students to leave class for a period of time and get some headspace but will this center be effective or not

On December 3rd, 2020, a new wellness center was opened to the students of Harwood Union. The center was established to help students who were struggling in class and needed to go clear their head. The way this space works is that a student asks their teacher to go to the center for some space and when they arrive they sign in on a device, they are then allowed to take a seat and clear their head for a maximum of 15 minutes before heading back to class. It’s important to note no personal devices are allowed to be used during this time except to listen to music. As you can tell this has brought changes to Harwood notably that the center has replaced the senior cafe for the time being.

There’s been quite a bit of controversy on the center so far, such as how useful the wellness center is, how students can leave class for a period of time, and how students might abuse the new ability to do so. I have been interviewing individuals and collecting information on the subject and this is what people have to say.

Nathaniel Furlong, an art teacher at Harwood, said ̈I think having a place like the Wellness Center is a wonderful addition to our building. It promotes a positive message around the importance of mental health and gives our students a place to practice that message ̈ I also questioned him on students being able to leave class for a maximum of 15 minutes and he said ̈Around students leaving for 15 minutes, I think this is just fine as long as we stay consistent with the message that this will not be an everyday occurrence. I certainly support sending a student to the Wellness Center when they want/need to go. ̈

An English Teacher, Dan Morse said that having a place for students to go and get some space when they need it is a great idea. When I questioned him on the 15 minute time he said ̈15 minutes is a fine amount of time to work through what they need I think people will be respectful of it and if a student really is having a hard time in class they’re not going to be able to focus anyway ̈

Other sources who would rather stay anonymous seemed to agree with these statements, also expressing a few concerns on students possibly using this power to get out of class saying ̈ I have mixed feelings about the new center; one side you have

a lot of good for people who need help and then the other side people who just want to skip out on class ̈ as well as ̈15 minutes is a decent amount of time out of a class and my worry is that people will use that to not be in class. ̈

As far as replacing the senior cafe, everyone agreed that because of covid the senior cafe is not an option this year but that the senior cafe is a valuable important part of the school and they would like to see it brought back to that space and the center moved to a different spot.

In conclusion, everyone agrees that good can come from the wellness centers if used properly. The wellness center is a good addition to the school for people who need space and help with whatever they’re dealing with. But having the ability to leave class for 15 minutes is not too much to ask for if you need it, the idea being to help students. Post pandemic the senior cafe should be restored to its original place since it’s an important part of the school.