Mid-Winter Breakdown

Students rush to prepare for exams after two half days get removed from the schedule

Amber Cicilian, Editor

After school on Tuesday, December 7, parents received an email outlining the decision the UCS school board made to take away the two half days of class before mid-winter break. 

Shortening the already condensed first semester was presented with the idea of giving students more time to spend with family after experiencing the devastating effects of the pandemic last year, along with the recent tragedy in Oxford. The district has also been struggling to find substitutes, and this time of year is especially difficult to maintain classroom supervision. This schedule change was promising in theory, but students began to realize it has created more problems than it was worth.

Students have been asking for more time off school around the holidays for years, but only giving everyone two weeks notice before the end of the semester is the opposite of a gift. Teachers had to scramble to figure out when to give out exams and the stress is starting to weigh on everyone. 

Instead of having three designated days with specific testing windows for each class period, teachers were given the entire week to administer exams. This has added unnecessary confusion to what was once a straightforward schedule. 

Many students had to take three or more exams in a day on top of attending all six hours of classes. This can be mentally draining as well as extremely stressful. Up until the 13th students still did not know what classes they would be attending on the half day on Friday. All of these challenges combined make it obvious that this decision was made at the last minute with little regard for the toll it would take on high school students and their stress levels before the holiday break. 

Given the traumatic circumstances students have had to experience for the past two years, giving them extra time for themselves is always welcome and may be more than necessary. But, if teachers are going to have the same high expectations for exams that they would in a normal year, the school board throwing a different schedule in everyone’s face is unfair. 

The modified schedule is what it is. Teachers and students will have to make it work, just like everyone has been doing since March 2020.