Jags Express Dissatisfaction After Broward County Decides to Use Exam Days as Hurricane Makeup Days

Daniel Morrison, Copy Editor

   In a preemptive move to safeguard the Jags and other students of Broward County, schools closed last September and November to avoid the potentially dangerous impacts of hurricanes Ian and Nicole. Six days were missed altogether.

   However, missing these days come at a cost: December isn’t only marking the conclusion of hurricane season, it’s introducing an updated schedule too—one that affects the week of midterms and, for students, the Winter break that immediately follows. 

   The midterm days of December 20th, 21st, 22nd, and the 23rd as well as the early release days of January 12th and April 20th, 2023, have been converted to full instructional days. The conversion of these days will satisfy the required hours of instruction missed without removing student holidays according to Broward County Superintendent Dr. Vickie L. Cartwright.

   But the change isn’t satisfying many Jags. “I’m not happy with this change at all because I believe after kids have worked so hard for testing, the least they could do is let us go home early as we slowly [enter] the break,” voices sophomore Rachel Mathai. “As a student taking all AP and AICE Classes, it becomes even more draining on the body when we have to go to school to take two exams for three days back-to-back and are expected to stay in school for the whole day,” she adds.

   Traditionally, students leave campus after their midterms are over, but a full 7 to 2 school day practically kicks that aside. “So you have to go to school a certain number of minutes a year, which I think we have plenty of,” Principal Bayer says. “But nonetheless, when the hurricane days took a week of school, Broward made the decision that they were going to alter [the schedule] in order to make up the missed time.” 

   Bayer explains that during exam week (December 19th-23rd), Monday and Friday will be straight 1-6 while Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be the designated exam days. Exams #1 and #2 will be on Tuesday morning, exams #3 and #4 on Wednesday morning, and exams #5 and #6 will take place Thursday morning. “So if you’re exempting those exams, you can come in late and go to your classes, or you can not come in at all and you would have to call in an absence for the afternoon classes.” Bayer confirms that makeup exams will be the week students return from the holiday break.

   Still, Jags resent the decision from Broward County. “I feel horrible about it,” junior Sophia Dourvetakis says. “We’re going to just sit in classrooms for X amount of hours.” That is if teachers decide to wave off the extra work, something Rachel believes they’ll do. “At that point, there is no point in even going to school,” the sophomore says. “Teachers are not going to be assigning work after that. They know themselves that the kids can’t handle that.” Sophia adds, “A hurricane is not in our control.” 

   The change may be confusing with all its complexity, but what’s never been more clear is the desire to smoothly transition into Christmas break. “Christmas is so close,” junior Juliette Montes says. “Just two days after we get out of school. I just want to go and relax.” Though sentiments surrounding the schedule change remain in disagreement, the conversion may offer extra time to study for a next-day midterm or, better yet, plan a holiday activity closer to Christmas—relaxation in alternate forms. “Even though the hurricane set SGA’s plans back a bit, we’re still able to complete our SGA holiday tradition of a Secret Santa Gift Exchange,” says the excited senior and Student Government Association president, Kymora Stewart. SGA aims to have the gift exchange occur on one of the full days of midterm week.

   However, to really gauge the implications of full-day midterms, students will have no choice but to wait and see how their exams play out. By the sound of it—and the imaginary Christmas bells and carols that slip in and out of the ear—maybe it isn’t all that bad. 

   Till next year.