ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: MCPS pushes back school start date

Since seemingly the beginning of time, schools have served the purpose of keeping kids off the streets and in education oriented-jail. As had become custom, this activity was an almost year-round endeavor with brief spurts of freedom in the winter and spring culminated in the full fledged release in summer before the cycle started up again. Now, MCPS has changed their schedule to make it drastically different. The start date of the upcoming school year will be after the start of Labor Day! Crazy, right?

If you’re left unimpressed and puzzled by that truth, you are not alone. The postponement, as great as it may seem –  extra summer! – is not wholly as advertised. This act shortens the end of the school year but in return holds the capacity to cut short our spring break should winter weather cause cancellations. On top of all of this, having the start date after Labor Day increases the impact of the school year rearing its head after the long break.

First, the crippling effect of this revised schedule is unmistakable​. Two whole days are more than likely going to be shaved off of spring break. Students have voiced similar sentiments on the spring break shortage. “I think it is unfair to change the schedule and take away days from spring break,” junior Justin Slud said.

Currently, two days in the summer might get added on, but, as my fellow students can attest, two days during spring break, which are one of only two opportunities for freedom throughout a rigorously unending school year, can carry the weight of the world. Students generally notice no difference in having one or two days less of summer, but spring break serves as a time off from intensive work in the thick of the struggle, and taking a day or two there makes all the difference. I am not alone in this thinking. “Spring break is my time to relax and take a break from school, I want as much of those days off as possible,” junior Daniel Philipose said.

Also, pushing the start date to after Labor Day means that the transition back into school will be even more sudden. Long have I enjoyed going at the pool after the introductory first days of school, when the work is little and the weather is sweltering. That harmonious period makes the shift back into the school schedule a little less sudden and a little less stressful. Without the ability to go for a swim after the first day of school, students will have more time to ponder the validity, meaning, and worth of their education in their state of post-summer shock with nothing, no pool to distract them. Without this buffer, the school year’s arrival will be that much more harsh for many students, stripping away a favorite activity for students. “I love going to the pool after the first days of school. It extends summer into the school year,” Slud said.

Peter Hechler

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