KAMLOOPS - The two week spring break for students in Kamloops is going back to one week.
After a close vote, Kamloops-Thompson school trustees voted Monday, Jan. 16, to discontinue the two week March spring break. School board chair Meghan Wade says the two week long break was being done on a three year trial basis.
“Those three years are up this year,” she says. “The decision of the board was to not continue.”
This year spring break will still be two weeks, but in 2018 it will be back to one week for students throughout the district, including Chase, Barriere and Blue River.
Wade says a major point of contention was where the instructional time came from for the district to allow a second week. The district is required to provide students with a certain number of hours of instruction by the province, while employment contracts restrict the length of school days and the school year. This means the district had to shorten students' lunch hours to accommodate class time lost during the longer spring break.
Trustees who were in favour of a shorter spring break also pointed out the one week version means financially vulnerable families would have a week less of child care to cover and vulnerable learners wouldn’t be away from school as long, Wade says.
“We were hoping we could afford to put some education camps in place for the two weeks,” she says. “But that wasn’t fiscally responsible.”
Trustees in favour of a longer spring break pointed out a survey of employees showed a majority preferred the two week version, while a parents survey was split. One of the other concerns was also taking away extra family time.
School District 73 will also now be in the minority in the province.
“We’ll be one of seven districts with a one week spring break,” she says. “The majority of the province are on two weeks.”
In the end, she’s not sure how much the students will actually notice the change. She says high school students might be annoyed, but points out they’re about to enter post-secondary school or the work force, where breaks are different. As for elementary students, she thinks they might see it as a positive.
“I honestly think our elementary school kids are going to like having a bit more time at lunch,” she says.
Next year’s school year calendar is yet to be determined. A draft will be developed for the 2017-18 year in February, and trustees will vote in March to adopt it.
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