Published Dec. 14, 2022
BY ELLA GAILY
Many students feel a sense of relief as they set the first semester aside for winter break–a feeling that will only be more poignant this year, but for the wrong reason.
Pacific Grove, Monterey and Seaside High Schools will head into the holidays after school Dec. 16, while CHS students’ hard work will come to fruition Dec. 23, the last day of finals. This year, CUSD opted to start winter break on Christmas Eve.
Yet many students wish to celebrate Christmas family traditions without the stress of final exams inhibiting them, while other students and families celebrating Hanukkah Dec. 18-26 will have limited options. Because of CUSD’s schedule, Hanukkah will take place almost entirely during finals week when constant studying is required. Those who celebrate Christmas will also have little time for travel, and finals make skipping school the Friday before break undesirable for many students and families.
There will undoubtedly be parents who deem this necessary, yet the district has declared that absences for traveling on Friday, Dec. 23, won’t be excused. The idea that students are thrilled to go into a break attempting to remember material for two postponed finals is laughable. These students won’t even be allowed to take one of their finals early during the designated office hours period Thursday.
Hypothetically, this dilemma would arise every seven years when the calendar repeats itself, yet the 2016-17 school year had its last day of school on Dec. 16. Since the state is required to observe New Year’s Day on Monday, Jan. 2, when the first falls on the weekend, the district would typically reopen school Jan. 3 and could seek an exemption to reopen Jan. 2.
The district is an outlier in not following the creative solutions of other local schools, which are implementing one or two in-service staff days and will be back in session either Jan. 3 or 4 instead of CUSD’s Jan. 9. For some reason, neither this solution or seeking the earlier exemption were explored. Only one alternative proposition was brought up, and the idea of scheduling finals from Thursday, Dec. 16, to Tuesday, Dec. 20, with the weekend separating test days, was quickly vetoed by staff.
The committee’s decision contrasts with their decision to extend Thanksgiving break to include Monday and Tuesday, beginning in the 2021-22 school year, which had shown consideration for students’ travel, and the resulting change of the long-established first day of school proved they could entertain unconventional solutions.
A better solution for this year’s winter break may have been found by repeating the approach to Thanksgiving break, brainstorming creative solutions that coexist with students’ lives outside of the classroom.
Now that this situation is final, allowing students to take a final early would be a well-deserved gift.