MCPS may make mental health days excused absences during pandemic

The Montgomery County School Board may start giving students in Maryland’s largest school system excused absences to take mental health days during the pandemic.

A resolution to allow students to take mental health days was introduced during Wednesday night’s hearing.

“I’d like to bring forward a resolution related to mental health days … I know mental health is an issue that a lot of students care about. And it’s something that’s always been at the forefront,” student member Nick Asante said during the hearing. “But I think now more so than ever. It’s something that’s a big concern for a lot of students.”

Asante brought forward a resolution that looks into the process of making mental health days count as an excused absence for students.

His resolution would not change attendance policy itself but asks the board to consider absences based off the stress and anxiety students face during the COVID crisis.

The board voted 7-1 in favor of considering the idea.

The dissenting vote came from Vice President Brenda Wolff.

Her argument was that there is already a system in place for students to get an excused absence — parents can call in and say their child is sick.

“It seems like busywork for the policy committee, because … as a parent, I can write in and say this already,” Wolff said.

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WTOP’s Will Vitka contributed to this report.

Fonda Mwangi

Fonda Mwangi is a Associate Producer at WTOP. Before joining WTOP she was an investigative intern at WJLA. She also wrote for student magazine, Envision, covering finances for college students. Fonda got her Masters in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University.

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