Northam urges implementing summer school

Virginia Governor allows school districts to provide extra learning resources through the summer

Junior Michaela Aka reacts to Governor Northam’s summer school suggestion on Snapchat. Aka opposes push for schools to extend the academic year into summer break.

With education inhibited by virtual learning and more students falling behind this year, Governor Ralph Northam is encouraging schools to extend their academic year into summer vacation dates.
“We’ve asked a lot for the past year from our children and our families, and now it’s time for us to help them,” Northam said in a press conference on Feb. 4. “To give them some extra time this summer to get them prepared will be in everybody’s best interests.”
Northam’s recommendations are optional, so school districts have the freedom to decide whether or not they want to extend the academic year for all students. While the move is intended to improve the lackluster education many received this year, some McLean students believe it is a misguided focus.
“[Summer] school will not help [improve students’ education],” sophomore Farah Eljazzar said. “A better learning environment, more resources from schools and teachers, and safe places for students to interact with others is what [is] needed.”
Nearly all McLean students are in agreement that the education this year has been below the standard set by previous years.
“I don’t believe that online school can compare to in-person learning,” senior Mason Munoz said.
Even students who are receiving good grades and managing work in a virtual environment agree that learning this year can not compare to the past.
“I have been able to get things in on time, but feel like I’ve learned less,” senior Livia Lampal said.
The announcement of additional summer school opportunities has been met by a lot of concerns from McLean students about their mental health.
“ Extra school puts the pressure and anxiety on students that is already being experienced with online school, and having more of it is not a viable option,” Eljazzar said.
Extended school could drastically affect how students spend their summer. Many McLean students work during the summer and have other extracurricular activities planned. The new proposal could make it harder for students to do community service, apply for summer internships, and do other activities during the summer months.
“I usually work and hang out with friends and family, so I’m really busy during summer break,” junior Franny Stroik said. “I also treat the break as a time where I can relax and just enjoy my time away from school, [so] if this plan goes through I will be disappointed.”
Many parents and students are upset and concerned about the uncertainty in the implementation of summer school and what Fairfax County will do to help students catch in school.
“Just not knowing what the school board will decide is putting extra stress in my life,” junior Amelia Badipor said. “I have other things to worry about during these unprecedented times.”