I am sure some were jumping for joy with the news this week that Manchester Township High School and Middle school students will start the school year on split sessions while the middle school deals with a major mold clean up. 

Those likely to be happy are high school students whose school day will end before noon.  However as one who went through all my high school years on split sessions I can tell you it’s not necessarily as great as it sounds.

Manchester school officials really had little choice in the matter when mold was discovered on the first floor of the middle school on Route 571.  With only a short time to implement a plan before the school year begins moving those students to the high school on Colonial Drive was the most logical choice for a variety of reasons.  Some have suggested that trailers could have been used but the idea of relocating 700 plus students in trailers for an extended period does not make sense.

The plan announced by Superintendent Dave Trethaway will have students in grades 9-12 attending school from 7-11:57AM.   Classes will be 39 minutes long and lunch has been eliminated in favor of breakfast at 6:45.  However athletes who stay after school for practices or games will have a mandatory lunch period before taking part in their activity.  Students in grades 6-8 officially will be in school from 12:10-4:56PM and they will have lunch during the early part of their schedule.  While classes will be reduced to 30 minutes there will be double periods for math and language arts.

Among the challenges they will deal with is not having use of lockers and not being able to change clothes for gym classes.  Practices for sports and other extracurricular activities will take place in the morning hours before the school day begins

Obviously the changes will be most difficult for middle school parents and it might require a bit of shuffling around.  However there is little doubt that safety and education are the most important factors to take into account and it certainly appears school officials have done that.

I actually think in some ways the downside of split sessions will be greatest for high school seniors who will lose a little something that you just can’t define. I can only tell you from experience.




Not to be forgotten is the fact that teachers and staff will also be greatly impacted but for at least a few months everyone is going to have to just pull together and do the best they can.  Hopefully everything will be back to normal sooner rather than later.