Many Local School Districts Are Starting School Earlier Than Ever

Many Local School Districts Are Starting School Earlier Than Ever

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s August and summer and really hot out there.

So is it really time for school?


Some of us remember the old days.


“Remember when Labor Day marked the end of summer, and you never went back to school until after Labor Day?” noted Roseanne Javorsky, interim executive director of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.


But now, almost all schools start before Labor Day unless they have construction projects or labor issues.


“It does seem that they are starting back earlier than ever,” Javorsky told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Monday.


“Some of our schools have actually gone back today.”


WATCH: Jon Delano reports live

That would be the Norwin School District which started Monday, Aug. 19.


But what was once a start date the week before Labor Day has now become two weeks before Labor Day.


In Allegheny County, Chartiers Valley, McKeesport, North Hills and South Fayette each start on Tuesday, Aug. 20.


With Bethel Park, Duquesne, Northgate, Plum, Quaker Valley, Steel Valley and West Allegheny starting Wednesday, Aug. 21.


“Students are actually anxious to get back to school, believe it or not,” says former South Fayette superintendent and Point Park Professor Linda Hippert.


Hippert says students want to get back to school, and it makes sense academically.


“Academically, we know that the less amount of time that students are out of that routine of learning, the better it is for them overall,” she says.


Delano: So a shorter summer vacation makes good academic sense?
Hippert: Absolutely.


But starting classes this week does take away from daytime football practice.


“The good football coach understands that, and he wants his athletes to be good academically, and then they will be strong on the football field,” Hippert says.


“So you work it out. You compromise,” notes Hippert.


But another concern, says Javorsky, is that many local school buildings are still not air-conditioned.


“We deal with the dog days of August. Sunshine is bright. The temperature skyrockets. Some of our buildings are very old, and they do get very hot,” she says.


With schools starting in the dog days of summer, watch for “hot days” to replace “snow days” in districts without air-conditioned school buildings.


One superintendent told KDKA that he was prepared to cancel classes or let kids out early if the heat inside becomes dangerous.


Now some of those districts starting this week do finish the school year a little earlier in late May.


But many others just add a couple more days to the school year and don’t let out until the first week of June.