In the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic, the fabric of American life is changing. Schools across the nation are closed, some for the remainder of this academic year.   As more states and districts shut down in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the prospect that K-12 schools will be closed for weeks or months could severely test state laws that govern how many days public schools must be in session and when they must stop and start.  And that scenario could leave major questions around how much education funding goes out to schools hanging in the balance. 

Parents at home with their children have found themselves in the unfamiliar position of home-schooling. While some students are receiving assignments from their teachers,  many are at loose ends. Some have access to technology, but in many quarters, no reliable access to internet learning exists. Perhaps with such a disruptive routine of the education system comes an opportunity to re-think current methods. Maybe some innovations will emerge from this crisis.

One immediate result of the forced home-schooling may be an actual advantage to adolescents and teens. They do not have to report to a school building at the break of dawn and sit on a class while sleep-deprived. For years,  has extolled the benefits of later starting times: less depression, fewer car accidents, higher standardized test scores, among other. While they should adhere to regularly scheduled hours of work, they can sleep later, have breakfast, and begin their academic work at a more suitable time: perhaps 10 or later.  

In fact, the entire school calendar, having already been completely disrupted, is now ripe for a change. Why maintain the archaic agrarian calendar that provides months of vacation and results in learning loss?  Educators now have the opportunity to revise the calendars.”Whether it be a four-day school week, trimester schedules, year-round school, extending learning time, or delaying starting times for secondary schools based on the latest research about teenagers’ sleeping and waking behaviors, there are more options for school calendars than ever before.

.Let’s put the welfare and best interests of  students first!


Laura Maniglia