Kamloops parents remain mixed on length of spring break

By Chad Klassen
March 15, 2019 - 4:30pm Updated: March 15, 2019 - 5:26pm

KAMLOOPS — Students across most of the province are now off on spring break, and while most B.C. students have the luxury of two weeks away from school, kids in School District 73 only get a one-week break. 

SD73 is only district in the province to limit the break to a week, and the shorter spring break has been a point of contention for years now between parents, teachers, and the school board, which experimented with a two-week spring break a few years ago. 

Despite just the one week, kids finishing their final day before the break at the Kamloops School of the Arts couldn't be more excited. 

"I'm going to be going to Nelson to visit my family," said one student. 

"I got a new puppy, so I'm going to stay home with my dog," said another. 

Naturally, the students would like more time off and return to the two-week spring break the district tried for three years from 2014 to 2017. Most parents at the School of the Arts are either indifferent to one or two weeks, or would like to see one week remain. 

"One week. I work at a daycare, so all of the children who are on spring break come to us, and one week seems more fitting than two weeks," said School of the Arts parent Ashley Canada. 

"One week," said another parent. "I think it's just easier with childcare. My wife recently started working, so we're both working full-time and it's just easier."

Fellow parent Jeremy Patterson added, "Having two weeks vacation, it makes it easier for the kids to catch up on whatever they want to do. They enjoy the time off."

When the SD73 Board of Education voted 4-3 in 2017 to push spring break back to one week, it was thinking about some financial pressures on families for an extra week of daycare.

Some surveys to parents across the district indicated as many as 75 per cent of respondees favoured keeping a two-week spring break, but the majority on the board were thinking about low-income families who may struggle. 

"Where you have families where childcare is an issue, where a parent can't get time off work and they're facing with the issue of either food for their kids, good adult supervision for their kids, or time away from work and not getting a salary," said board chair Kathleen Karpuk, who was on the previous school board that voted to reverse the length of spring break. 

Meantime, the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers' Association says it will be pushing for a two-week spring break as part of upcoming negotiations with School District 73. 

"We hear fairly consistently from the public, for our members, from different people in the school district community that they liked the two-week spring break for whatever reason," said President of KTTA Amanda Jensen-LaBar. "So certainly looking forward to local negotiations, that may be something that hits the local table."

Most students would love to have their two-week holiday over spring break, and they very well may get their wish with the teachers' contract expiring June 30.

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