Suffolk schools looking to start before Labor Day, but should they?

Posted at 8:54 PM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 23:26:36-04

SUFFOLK, Va. - You know the first day of school is around the corner when you’re shopping for school supplies.

“We are ready - ready than we can ever be, so if you’re not ready, get ready,” said mother of two Kim Jackson.

This year, school starts on Tuesday, September 3, but this could change soon. Suffolk Public Schools are reaching out to parents about potentially starting school before Labor Day.

“I don’t fully agree with starting earlier... absolutely not!” said Jennifer Sorensen.

Her son is currently a rising sophomore at King's Fork High School. She says if the school board does decide to make students go to school early, this means it's taking away from their summer vacation.

“For me, our vacations usually end around the 24th of August, and I need a week to get him ready for school,” she adds.

The General Assembly passed a new law that allows schools to start the school year 14 days before the Labor Day holiday, but schools must still meet the state 180-day minimum requirement.

“I'd just rather keep it the same. I’ve got used to it all these years - the same schedule for years... decades,” said Jackson.

Before a decision is made, the school board wants parents, students and the community to complete an anonymous online survey with their feedback.

“I think I’m more on the 'no' at this point,” said Sorensen.

While the parents who spoke to News 3 are leaning towards "no," the students think otherwise.

Jackson's 10-year-old daughter Kelisa, who is going to fifth grade, says, “I think I like going to school early.”

Whatever the decision is, parents just want the school board to be fair.

Related: As lawmakers once again tackle when schools start in Virginia, what does the data support?

“Make sure they keep everybody’s input in consideration.”

The school board will discuss the survey results at the September school board meeting. To complete the Labor Day survey, click here.