It’s seemingly hard to find a silver lining among the cloudy situation produced by the coronavirus crisis, but depending on your viewpoint, one might be emerging.
As Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School superintendent Scott Wakeley discussed plans to reopen for the next academic year at last week’s Board of Education meeting, he mentioned several scenarios.
The one most preferred would bring students back according to the original schedule, which runs from approximately mid-August through much of May. But Wakeley admits that might not be possible.
The next best plan would call for a school start after Labor Day, with the year extending into June. The other plans are more restrictive, and are being considered in case the state extends its stay at home mandate later into the year.
It’s the next best plan which is intriguing, because it mirrors a schedule which was much more common in Illinois in former years, and is still used in some parts of the nation.
All of have likely heard from seasoned citizens who attended school decades ago and were used to a schedule which called for the doors to open after Labor Day, often the next day after the holiday.
As students and staff have returned to school in August in recent years, they have sometimes faced scorching temperatures which have produced steamy classrooms and the need for shortened days and cancellations. With little or no air conditioning in most of the buildings, this won’t likely change soon.
As the Daily Journal has reported on these situations, this reader response has been rather common: “Why don’t they wait until after Labor Day to go back to school like we used to?”
Those responsible for running the schools can provide reasonable rationale as to why the August start makes for the best schedule. But they can’t avoid the possibility of a 90-degree day with 90 percent humidity during that period.
This crisis has prompted us to reassess how all kinds of things are done, including how a school calendar is structured. A permanent change is something to take into strong consideration.