Friday, February 12, 2010

The Problem with the Make-up Snow-edule... Er... Schedule

We all knew what was to come this past Monday when Friday’s snowstorm still looked fresh, plows had given up, and classes were canceled. (To be clear, I think GW did a fantastic job ensuring its students were safe, warm and busy this week, with its maintenance staff working around the clock, as the Hatchet so kindly pointed out. But I’m from Connecticut. If Manhattan had gotten 26" overnight, no trace of it would be seen by the next morning.)

Despite the fun of having four snow days in a row (and totaling, for those who have no Friday classes, to be an eleven-day weekend), academics were certainly impacted. I spent every day in the library trying to stay on top of my work and preparing for the papers and projects I could only assume would be on schedule for next week. By Monday night’s announcement to cancel Tuesday’s classes, I was anxious to receive emails from my professors outlining what readings and homework we were expected to have completed.

Finally, the University announced the following end-of-year schedule in an email at 8:35 p.m. last night:

Monday, Feb. 8, canceled classes to be held on Tuesday, April 27 (Regular Makeup Day); 

Tuesday, Feb. 9, canceled classes to be held on Thursday, April 29 (Reading Day 1); 

Wednesday, Feb. 10, canceled classes to be held on Friday, April 30 (Reading Day 2); 

Thursday, Feb. 11, canceled classes to be held on Saturday, May 1.

The original schedule was as follows:

Make-up Classes (T) April 27

Designated Monday/Last Day of Spring semester classes (W) April 28

Reading Days (R-F) April 29-30


As a junior at GW, I’ve come to appreciate our "reading days." Some schools only have one. Some schools don’t have any. Some schools, like University of North Carolina at Asheville, became outraged when theirs were being taken away (see their Facebook group's picture above). With the old schedule, we had four days to prepare for finals. Four days to, yes, let loose, relax and see friends, but mostly, study hard in Gelman. It’s a necessary vacation.

With the new schedule, we lose those reading days we've come to love. We’ll be in class on Saturday, and have only Sunday free before finals begin on Monday.

I understand Snowmageddon had to be responded to, and I understand that because this amount of snow is not ordinary, GW didn’t have a policy in place to deal with it. But I don’t think making up every single day was necessary. Because we missed Monday—Thursday and most classes are on a M-W(-F) or T-R schedule, we should only have to make up one Monday and one Tuesday. Monday could have been made-up on the originial makeup day, Tuesday, and Tuesday could have been made-up on Thursday, Reading Day 1, keeping in place Wednesday’s designated Monday schedule. I’m sure both students and professors could have adapted to missing a day or two of class, nixing just one assignment and one assigned reading.

But even with the schedule I proposed, there will be issues. Are professors going to be teaching new material in the two (T-R) or four (M-W) classes we have in the last week—only a few days before the final exam?

This schedule is just going to end up stressing us all out, even more, during finals week.

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