“Hurrication” Florence’s After-Effects

From September 11th to the 14th, the East Coast was threatened by Hurricane Florence. Fortunately, Virginia Beach was not hit by this powerful storm, but in preparation for a potential Virginia Beach landfall, school was canceled for 4 days.  With Rosh Hashanah on Monday, missing an additional four days took a big chunk out of the school week. In order to make up some of these days, the administration added two school days on to our calendar: one at the beginning of winter break and one at the end.  Obviously, the time needed to be made up, but for some students, this change has created conflicts in their winter break plans.

In an attempt to capture the reaction of the CHC community, students and faculty were interviewed on their opinions for the lost days of winter break.  Aidan Winfield (‘21) along with Matt Frank (‘22) agreed with the decision to add the days on winter break. Aidan stated, “Those days are the best option that Cape Henry could choose. They are least disruptive, and it is the easiest adjustment to teacher and student schedules.” Gianni Bezada (‘21) said that “Cape Henry should just make up the lost days and just get it over with. Providing lost classroom time is better than missing days.”  Matt remarked that “if Cape Henry were to wait and not reschedule days, and more days are missed in the first semester for weather or other emergencies, Cape would have trouble finding days to replace the days we hypothetically missed.” However, Matt, Aidan, and Gianni were not oblivious to the disadvantages the make-up days provided. They agreed that people did not expect the makeup days to be during winter break, and therefore people who made plans to leave town for holiday festivities will have to either cancel plans or change some dates around. This is unfortunate for people who will be traveling by flight because their flights may conflict with the newly scheduled school days.

As a possible alternative, Evan Old (‘22) and Campbell Clay (‘22) were asked about the option of virtual learning days.  These days are how public schools make up their lost days due to the “hurrication”. With virtual learning days, there are no scheduled hours, no buses, no meals; instead, each teacher will assign an activity which “replicates the learning experience” that can be done at home for both the student and the teacher.  Evan and Campbell both thought the idea of virtual learning days would be a great idea. However, an anonymous faculty member stated, “Even if Cape Henry wanted to do virtual learning days, it could not happen this year. Cape Henry would have to agree at the beginning of the year to use virtual learning days. Cape Henry can’t just say that they are going to use them when they need to.”  

Everyone who was interviewed would rather take one or two days extra rather than adding 15 or 20 minutes on the end of the day for various reasons. The anonymous faculty member also shared,  “If the days were replaced with a short period of extra time each day, it wouldn’t do anything because the time that was gained back wouldn’t be significant enough to give any educational value to students.”  Aidan and Gianni further added that extra time to the day would conflict with after-school sports.

When interviewed for personal and opinionated reasons, Matt Frank stated, “I agree with the days being added over winter break because I would rather them be there than on a Saturday.  I’m just going to push through it even though I’m not gonna want to once winter break gets here.” When Gianni was asked how his winter break would be impacted by the make up days, he said, “I am going to have to cancel plans with my family or cut them short significantly. I’m bummed about that, but I would still take winter break days over a Saturday or two that I would have to miss.”

Why did we have to make up the missed days? The reality is that we lost four days of school, and the administration has the responsibility to protect our education. Although many would be fine with the lost days being forgotten, others realize that missing information has a long-term effect on all classes, especially AP ones.