We Should Have Election Day Off, Right?


On November 8th, millions of Americans will flood local schools in order to cast ballots to select public officials — from local to the national government. It is a time honored tradition in the United States; however, after some of the political unrest that this country has seen, like the attack on the Capitol, safety concerns are at the forefront of school administrators’ minds. MRHS Principal, John Coviello stated, “The upcoming midterm elections have much more focus than they ever have before and most schools are polling locations. The Statewide concern is that voter turnout is expected to be much higher than in years past with highly contested issues and so for the safety and security of all constituents the school district will exercise the virtual option.” While this concern is definitely valid, not all students agree with having a virtual day.

Many students think a virtual day will just remind them of the negative feelings that came from the 2020-2021 school experience and others just don’t see the point in a virtual school day. One student, Andrika Culliton said, “I think it’s a waste of time because a lot of people are opting to be out on that particular day and if we had it [the day] off last year, why can’t we have it off again?” It turns out that the State of New Jersey has requirements about the number of teaching days in every school year. Principal Coviello explained, “The school calendar is set a year in advance to satisfy a certain number of days for student and staff attendance. Therefore, if the Superintendent were to make 11/08 a day off at this time, we would have to make up the day at another time.” By “another time” he means taking away from a vacation week or going to school longer in June. Principal Coviello continued, “Luckily, the NJDOE is allowing a virtual day option for this election day. This will also allow us to count the days in the calendar so we will not have to make up later during a recess or at the end of the school year.” 

Even if having the virtual day will help us keep our vacations, what will be learned? There are many ways teachers can teach during remote learning. They can use Google Classroom to assign activities or Go Guardian to help students as they work. Teachers can also use the day to help students finish any assignments needed for the first marking period before it ends. One student commented, “It can be a huge boost to let us make up any missing assignments or any missing quarterlies.” 

So, if at first you thought a virtual school day was a bad idea, just remember that it will keep students from losing a vacation day and it will help students finish out the first marking period strong.