Shorter spring break coming for School District 73

By Vanessa Ybarra
January 18, 2017 - 5:14pm

KAMLOOPS —The kids may love it but as of next year Kamloops-Thompson School District's two-week spring break is about to get a whole lot shorter.

"The board met on Monday and deliberated," said Alison Sidow, Superintendent of School District 73 Board of Education. "It was a very difficult decision but for very good reasons they decided to return to a one-week spring break."

School District 73 trustees voted unanimously in favour of undergoing a three-year trial period extending public school's spring break from one to two weeks back in 2014.

"Teachers and students begin to fatigue around March as they've come out of winter," said Sidel. "People are indoors and people are tired. Teachers and parents indicated they would like to try a two-week spring break."

The board said it underwent numerous meetings and online discussions with parent advisory councils on the pros and cons of a longer break since then.

On Monday, the verdict was in.

School District 73 voted 4-3 in favour of switching back to the one-week model as of next year.

Officials say the effect the longer break was having on family finances played a large part in reversing the decision.

"For me, the driving issue was the effect that it has on working families that have young children," said Gerald Watson, Vice-Chairperson of School District 73 Board of Education. "If you have to pay for daycare or you have to take a vacation, it's onerous to have that two-week block as opposed to a single week."

According to Kamloops Childcare Resources and Referral Centre, the average cost of childcare in Kamloops is $150 a week.

Along with avoiding additional daycare costs, School District 73 says going back to a one-week spring break will help parents struggling with grocery bills.

"Educators indicated that many of our families who are living at the poverty line rely on the schools for food," said Sidow.

While many support going back to the traditional model, the majority of the parents CFJC-TV spoke to Wednesday said they are still in favour of a two-week break.

"The one week is bit inconvenient if you're wanting to make a trip or have a few days at home and then go somewhere," said one parent." The two weeks gives you more time."

"I prefer two weeks since I'm already used to it," said another parent. "I like the extra downtown with my kids, plus it usually coincides with my work."

"I think a slightly increased summer might work instead, but I also know that overseas they don't even have summers," said a third parent. "They just have shortened weeks and the kids don't complain about that at all, they prefer it."

The kids may give it a failing grade, but School District 73 officials say they stand behind their decision to return to the status quo until at least 2021.

"In the end, the board has spoken," said Sidow.

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