Yes, They Should Have

Adya Jha, Online Staff Writer

As the nation watched the unpredictable 2020 Elections play out into the days following November 3, Princeton Day School students enjoyed an unprecedented day off from school activities to reflect and discuss the election’s outcome with family and friends. In the past, PDS has kept the school open on the day following the election, in conformance with the majority of the nation’s educational institutions. This may be why it was entirely unexpected to hear of the change in schedule from the PDS administration not long before the election took place on November 3. This break from school life allowed students, faculty, and their families to reflect on the continuing output of electoral results, giving everyone a respite from the tumultuous cycle of 2020 and increased time to process what was occurring across the country.

Many could argue that the 2020 elections were the most pivotal in modern history. President Donald Trump, a controversial figure throughout his first term, was going head-to-head against former Vice President Joe Biden. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of mail-in ballots, pollsters forecasted that the results would not be known until days, possibly weeks, after Election Day. 

In this increasingly uncertain political climate, Head of School Paul Stellato officially stated, “While the faculty will play a critical role in helping our students understand both the event and their responses to it, our parents will play an equally important role, especially on the day after the election. To provide that opportunity, [school will be closed] so that families may share the day together.” The school’s closure on Wednesday designated a specific day that gave many students and faculty more time to reflect on this exceptional election, especially during one of the most turbulent election cycles in recent memory. With political tensions at an all-time high and partisan divisions running deep, time away from the stress of school activities could ease election anxiety, ensuring that students came back to school the next day with an inclination for civic discussion and intellectual stimulation. 

Additionally, in a time when it is difficult to tell fact from fiction and right from wrong, a better way to contemplate the constant release of new polling information was direly needed. Head of the Upper School Christian Rhodes shared, “Given the interest in [the election’s] results, we thought it best for students to have time to process what is known within their homes on Wednesday.” 

While the polls provided no conclusive results on November 4, students returned to school the following day with a clearer picture of the election and a better understanding of its direction. Freshman Lara Ozdogan added, “I think [the day off] is great because it helps students become more aware of the importance of the election,” with many other PDS students echoing the sentiment. In the chaotic year that is 2020, a day off after a contentious nationwide election 

was just what the faculty and student body needed to get back up on their feet with a fresh and clear perspective of the path ahead.