On the East Coast, public schools traditionally reopen the day after Labor Day. But across the South and West, many public schools started this week, and some even resumed classes last month.
School is underway in Memphis, New Orleans and Phoenix, and begins this week in Omaha and some California cities. Students in some Hawaii and Kentucky districts went back to class in July.
The earlier school year affects a number of industries, from airlines, which generally consider the summer crush to be finished by Aug. 15, to retailers, who have been stocking school supplies for weeks now.
University students go back from now through the end of September, and sports schedules rev up even before many are back in classes.
Some states have considered re-instated a later start to school as a measure to boost tourism. In Kentucky, there’s a move underway to ban classes from starting any earlier than the Monday before Labor Day.
The exception is school districts that hold classes year around. For them, summer is simply part of a balanced calendar.
Story ideas abound from the start of school. Find out whether your district has changed the way students are transported to school. Have buses been cut to save money? If you have charter schools, how does their calendar differ from that of public schools?
Have any schools closed since the end of the last school year, or have new ones opened? Is there new technology in school rooms, and are online classes being introduced? Be sure to talk to school districts and teachers’ unions, if you have them.