Two-week spring break opinions wanted

Longer break has pluses and minuses for northwestern BC students and families

THE Coast Mountains School District wants to hear what parents and guardians think about next year’s schedule, which once again proposes a two-week spring break.

The district moved to a two-week break from a one-week break this school year, citing a positive response from the community during a series of public consultations early last year and the fact that the majority of districts across the province already have a two-week break.

Those in favour of the longer break cited it allows more time for families to travel or leave the area. Concerns included parents or guardians needing to find alternative care for their children.

“There’s no doubt that it’s an inconvenience for families that are working those two weeks,” said school board chair Art Erasmus. “That’s balanced off by others saying this will give us an opportunity to go a little farther afield.”

The teacher’s union also came out in favour of the change.

This year, spring break starts March 18, with students returning to class on April 2, the day after Easter Monday.

But commenting on the proposed calender for next school year closes Feb. 28, meaning families will not have a chance to try out the two-week break before deciding whether or not they support keeping the change for next year.

This is because the school calendar needs to be voted on by the board by the end of March in order to be submitted to the province on time.

“The whole calender regulation in the school act changed, and there is no ministry school act calendar … so districts can do what they want to do, and that has to be approved by the end of March,” said Erasmus. “So in order to get some time in for people to give feedback and ask questions, they’ve basically got February and then we have three weeks in March to tabulate that and clarify so the board can approve the calendar at the March board meeting to be approved by March 31.”

Now that districts are able to submit their own calendar, some around the province are even talking about moving to school year round, with longer breaks every couple of months instead of one long summer break.

But that’s not on the table here yet, said Erasmus.

“Our sense at this point is that while that may be great for kids because they don’t have all summer to forget, I think that the tradition of having the summer off for parents and families to do stuff together … that would be a huge change. We’re not going to dive into that because we don’t want to be quite that adventurous without having an opportunity to do some surveys and talk to parents,” he said.

Parents can submit comment via the school district’s website, and complete an online survey on the proposed calender if they so choose.



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