That's the question educators and administrators are pondering after student absentees doubled across New Orleans on Monday, the day after the Saints beat the Vikings to advance to their first Super Bowl.
According to an article in The Times-Picayune, some schools plan to use emergency days already built into the academic calendar. Others haven't made a decision yet (including some waiting to see when a parade would be held), while others are sticking to business as usual.
"We know that our students and staff will be watching and hopefully celebrating a Saints Super Bowl victory," said New Orleans Recovery School District spokeswoman Siona LaFrance. "But a school day is a school day, and students and staff [are] expected to arrive on time on Monday."
One school, Archbishop Rummel, began discussing giving students the day off more than a month ago as the Saints were preparing for the postseason. Its students will get the day off on Feb. 8 — win or lose for the Saints.
"Given the excitement of the city, we felt it would be a good thing to do," Rummel principal Thomas Moran Jr. said. "Most people will be going to functions and be out late, and if the Saints win there will be even more celebrations."
Jefferson Parish public schools marked 8,800 students absent this past Monday. Typically, that number is 3,500 in a district of 44,000. They are considering closing shop Feb. 8, but may hold classes that day and then declare a holiday the day of a potential victory parade.
*This is a tricky situation for the school districts, as they toe the line between being sticks in the mud and Bourbon Street party animals (well, not quite).
Kids may not be able to concentrate after a Saints win — they'll be on cloud nine. But the game, which kicks off shortly after 6:30 p.m., ends at a reasonable enough hour for children to get the proper rest for the next day.
Yes, some of these kids may have been displaced during Hurrican Katrina, so this game may have extra meaning for them. But the schools need to instill the notion that their education should be valued more than a football game — even if it's the Super Bowl.
My opinion: Make the kids go to class.