Opinion: Hurricane Irma & Saturday Make-Up Classes

Keenan Thungtrakul/Senior Reporter

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Saturday school?” Detention? Inclement weather make-up? Project workday? Well, for us here at Embry-Riddle, Saturday school means make-up classes for the hurricane that came through Florida at the start of the semester. The hurricane screwed up our schedule, so it is clear why the university has to consider all possible make-up options and have in-depth discussions with student representatives and faculty. There are a wide variety of scenarios to consider and the school ended up going with a plan that lets the students keep Fall Break and Thanksgiving Break. For those that are unaware, Career Expo and Veterans Day are now class days. Students will now come into school on three Saturdays.

When you think of having school six days a week instead of the normal five, what comes to mind? Stress? Exhaustion? Lost money? Why come in on a Saturday for a class that meets during the week?

The only possible reason I could think of is supplemental instruction. It would make sense to have it if there are students that need help before a major test, but for a regular class? No way. What about classes that meet late in the day? You might as well say goodbye, because I will never do such a thing.

The only way I will want to make up a late class is to do it in the morning and get it done. It will mess up my weekend routine. If we can have those classes earlier, I would think everyone would be more willing to accept this plan. For those that work on the weekends, getting the makeups over with instead of having to make a work day like a regular school day can mean at least some extra cash that week. Those that chill on the weekends, sorry, you are going to have to go another mile before you see any free time.

Some professors have brought up the idea of having smaller make-up sessions during the regular semester to avoid having to come in on Saturdays or one of the scheduled make-up days. I find that idea a great alternative. One teacher I know went as far as to suggest having a big make-up session in the evening during a regular school day of the students’ choosing. A majority was not able to be reached, so that idea went south quickly. It looks like we will be having some unplanned but necessary weekend classes.

There are plenty of other ways that the school could have taken to make up for the missed days. Fall Break could have been removed, meaning we keep at least Career Expo and Veterans Day. Otherwise, keep either Veterans Day or Career Expo and make the other a make-up day along with study day.

That would leave only one required Saturday school session, which is better than having three. A possible long-term change could be to integrate make-up days into the academic calendar, that way those days can be used in the event of a weather closure.

Otherwise, those days can be converted to student workdays or holidays where students can work, utilize campus resources to complete assignments, or consult professors for assistance.

Either way, a compromise must be reached, and I feel that Embry-Riddle did the best that they could at scheduling make-ups in a way everybody can agree on. It will be interesting to come to school on a Saturday.