Another half credit of health?

Lily Hemmeter, Staff Writer

Recently, Baltimore County Public Schools announced a change to their health credit requirements for graduation. Students will now have to take a half-credit of health in freshman or sophomore year in addition to the half-credit in junior or senior year. This will first go into effect for the class of 2025. 

Rather than allotting more time to go through the current health curriculum, this additional class will introduce new topics.

According to health teacher Jessica Szymanski, “it will have more of a focus on mental and emotional wellness.”

As it turns out, the effects of the pandemic may have been a motivating factor behind this new curriculum. The county is aware that many students have been struggling with mental health over the past two years, largely due to COVID, and hope this extra course will help mitigate the problem. While it is still uncertain what exactly will be taught, the class will likely provide high schoolers with effective coping skills to improve their mental wellness.  The hope is that this will also destigmatize the topic of mental illness, allowing students to feel more comfortable seeking the help they need. 

When asked whether she agreed with the county’s decision, Szymanski said that she thinks it will be beneficial for health education to begin prior to junior year, as it is important for this content to be introduced before it is too late for students to really learn from it. She also expressed how relevant the subject is to teenagers and their development.

It is currently unclear how the new requirement will affect students who choose to take health outside of Dulaney–such as on the weekends or through CCBC. The finer details of the shift will be worked out as implementation starts. 

Hopefully, this change will benefit students by expanding their health knowledge in a time when this is more essential than ever.