First Day: Did Classes Start Too Soon?


via Communications Department

Juniors Seamus McNulty, Alexis Peetz Alio, and Leo Jordan take notes during class.

This year, students were thrown into a full schedule of classes on the very first day. For many years, the Tuesday after Labor Day was a half day of classes, without running buses. Last year, it became a full-length day with both morning and afternoon buses. However, it was not a normal school day, as we had yearbook photos and a long advisory in the morning, along with only 15 minutes of every class in the afternoon.  

Having school the day after Labor Day is already a bit harsh whether it is simply orientation or a full day of classes. The New York City Public Schools start a few days after Labor Day. Many independent schools follow this schedule as well. In fact, Dalton started school this year on September 12th, more than a week after Poly started.  

Labor Day is meant to be a holiday, but it can’t be fully appreciated if students are concerned about school starting the next day. Many families are away, making Labor Day a travel day instead of a relaxing summer day. It may sound like a small thing to have school start just a day later, but this would allow us to have Labor Day as a holiday and then the next day as a transition day. As it is now, people have to jump straight from summer into school, trying to completely switch modes in under 24 hours and often failing.

While it is already a problem that we start school the day after Labor Day, it was previously justified by it being a relaxing orientation. While, of course, people still dreaded going back to school, it ended up being a transitional day which consisted of yearbook photos and seeing their friends.  

Some may argue that this ended up making the Tuesday pointless as, in reality, only transitional grades such as fifth, sixth, and ninth need orientation. Otherwise, there were not many new students and the day was somewhat of a waste. Yet, this complaint did not mean that students would prefer a full day. In fact, last year was the perfect amount. Students were able to meet their teachers and get a taste of their new classes, while still having a gentle beginning to the year.  

However, this year, students were thrown into their classes. Teachers immediately taught lessons, gave homework, and announced essays and tests for the following week. There wasn’t even an opportunity to meet with our advisory and share how our summer was. Additionally, picture day was moved to a few days into school and disrupted the classes on that day, when they could have just replaced the classes on the first day.  

Overall, making students go through a full day on the first day only furthers the stress that is already strong on the first day of school.