Yes, They Should Have

Nandini Kolli, Online Staff Writer

The start of the New Year held new possibilities, new beginnings, and an end to what the world as we know it —the “new normal.” Despite this, the first three days of 2022 felt the same as when the COVID-19 lockdown began in 2020. COVID cases were rising, students were missing school, and, to put it bluntly, it was a time of chaos. However, the school recognized that many students were under significant pressure and took a stand to extend the semester for an additional week, providing  students with comfort and time to settle and uncover everything going on around them. 

With so many students and teachers out, we need more time to catch up on our work; the extension of the semester allowed just that. Freshman Addison Figel shared, “Omicron was a very unexpected thing, and it was a big shock to everyone.” She also stated that while she was lucky to stay in school, about half of of teachers and students were missing in each of her classes: “There was a guy who had a list of names on his clipboard of people who were close contacts, and he would just come to the room, say your name and motion for you to leave the room. And then you were just sent home.” She continues, “You would see kids sitting by the security desk waiting for their parents to pick them up.” When the week was extended Figel stated that, “I could actually breathe, have more time to prepare, and I didn’t feel as overwhelmed.” The perception of what was happening, particularly in the school setting between students and teachers, was very similar. 

The extension of the semester allowed students to have more time and be more prepared, which was PDS’s goal from the very beginning. When asking English teacher Caroline Lee about the positive outcomes that she saw in students after the news of the extended semester, she said “There was a relief amongst students, and students were not cramming as much. I also understood how the extension of the semester helped remote students especially if students were worried about missing class, information, or having trouble accessing teachers.” Furthermore, she added how she was able to spend more time with students, especially juniors and seniors taking semester courses: “It was nice to have students just for a little bit longer.” 

The period of uncertainty that came with the start of 2022 was certainly not helpful for anyone involved. But in spite of that, PDS took the time to understand how students were feeling mentally and physically and made a decision which helped students and teachers manage these hard times together, and for that, we can all be grateful.