This year’s winter break is shorter than those of previous years, with only 12 days instead of the typical 16.
Assistant Principal Kristin Robbins, who is the head of the calendar committee, said the committee takes into consideration where on the calendar the holidays fall. Hanukkah starts on Saturday, Dec. 24, Christmas is the next day, and New Year’s Day is the next Sunday, making the nationally observed day of New Year’s that Monday.
Robbins explained that it didn’t make sense to take the full week after New Year’s off, and the committee decided they couldn’t take more days off because once there’s only a half week, people tend to take the full week off.
Making the schedule for the school year is a complicated task, Robbins explained.
Part of the schedule-making process is to create a spreadsheet of how many days are in each quarter and semester, she said. With the winter break schedule, she added, they were able to maintain the 90-day semesters without pushing everything back and potentially having to add days onto the end of the year.
Robbins said the Board of Education’s goal in scheduling is to maintain 90-day semesters and five day weeks. The Board has the final say on all calendar decisions, she said. The committee is in charge of developing a calendar and then the Board decides if they want to approve it, she added.
The committee that Robbins chairs is made up of teachers, principals and community members so that they can have people from every level of the school system weigh in on the decision.
“Schedules are made two years in advance so people can have it and plan ahead,” she said.
Although Robbins said the shorter break wasn’t necessarily intentional, students and teachers have varying opinions on the decision.
Choir teacher Amy Blosser said the schedule change isn’t a big deal for her.
“It all works out because I’d rather have a shorter break than have to tack days onto the end of the year,” Blosser said.
However, she explained that the downside of the short break is that, because teachers still have to come in to school Dec. 22, this leaves them only one day to prepare for holiday family gatherings.
Freshman Lucy Powers also thinks that there’s not enough time off before the festivities.
“Over the holidays, everyone’s gone and spending time with their families,” she said. “It gets really chaotic because the break is so close to the holidays.”
Powers added that she doesn’t want to be stressing over exams so close to Christmas.
Another concern about the shortened break is that it cuts into the amount of time students have to spend with family.
“I usually visit both of my families in Wisconsin and West Virginia during break, but since it’s shorter, we had to pick and choose which family to see,” Junior Isaac Roe said.
Junior Nik Armstrong agreed that there isn’t enough time to spend with family.
“It prohibits students from going to see family they don’t get to see often,” he said. “There’s not enough time for travel.”
Spanish teacher Sherri Higgins doesn’t think the shortened break is a big deal.
“In the big scheme of things, taking off a few days didn’t make a difference,” she explained. “We still have a full week and we don’t have to come back on January 2.”