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Limited holiday break yields rushed celebration

FRI.| 12-9-22 | OPINION

     Two full days. This year there are two days to travel with your family to reach your desired destination, prepare your own house for arriving family, get last minute Christmas gifts and plan meals for the holiday. This year, Pitt County Schools (PCS) has scheduled school all the way through December 21, leaving students and staff two full days before Christmas Eve. 

     This presents a big issue for many families involved in holiday traditions. Consider those who travel across the country spending over a day in the car. This may leave families unable to reach their destination until Christmas Eve, adding stress to the travelers and also to the hosts as they are cramming preparation activities into Christmas Eve day. This affects my family as we have Christmas celebrations a few days before Christmas with my mom's side of the family, however this year we are not able 

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Graphic by Emmy Ingalls

to attend because of PCS’s extremely late release date. 

     Comparably, the return date of Christmas break this year (Jan. 4) seems to be a bit more reasonable but still not ideal as we have two days after New Year's Day to get home and get ready for school the next day. The bad part about returning this early is that when we come back, we are still in the first semester and will have a minimal number of days before first semester exams. This change is going to present a big issue for students including myself. Over the week and a half break, students are focused on spending time with family and friends and enjoying the break from school. That being said, the chances of students studying are slim to none. This will hurt them upon returning to school as they will not be prepared for first semester exams that are right around the corner and will be loaded down with exam prep materials as soon as they return from break. back.

     Another issue with the timing of this break affects those who celebrate Hanukkah. This year, Hanukkah begins on Dec. 18 and we will still be in school. This may hinder family celebrations of the holiday due to the requirement of being in school until Dec. 21. If students and staff celebrate Hanukkah, they should be able to fully participate in festivities and not be counted absent if they were to miss school to celebrate their holiday. 

     A proposition to fix this issue would be to start the school year earlier in August. In years past, this has been the case where PCS has started school mid August, gotten out for Christmas mid December and then came back in January to the start of second semester. This was the ideal situation as students came into second semester with a fresh mind and ready for new material, rather than having to recall everything from the first semester for exams. 

     While students may have enjoyed one more week in August this summer, it is not worth all of this hassle around Christmas time. I speak for many when I say that getting out for Christmas break a week before the holiday, and returning to school starting the second semester is much better than starting the year a week later in August. 

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