School officials consider reviving February vacation

School officials consider reviving February vacation

CUMBERLAND – What better way to open up dialogue (or a can of worms) than to bring up the idea of restoring February vacation?

In an informal poll this week, the Cumberland School Committee offered four options they’re considering as they plan the 2020-2021 school calendar, including two that would bring back February vacation.

As could be predicted, the responses to the options and reasons behind them were plentiful and varied dramatically.

School Committee Chairman Paul DiModica said the decision could be made tonight, Thursday, Feb. 13, or when the school board meets in two weeks if members feel they need more time.

He told The Valley Breeze that school officials are trying to get the feedback they need to make an informed decision after two straight years of members expressing some surprise at seeing the matter on the agenda and asking for more time.

Putting it out to the public a few days before the meeting is trying to be “a little more proactive this time,” making parents well aware of what might be coming, said DiModica.

The poll put out this week lists the four following options and asks residents to email School Committee members with their preference:

• Option A - Start school Aug. 26-27 without February vacation as the district currently has. School gets out June 10 with snow days (option in place currently).

• Option B - Start Aug. 26-27 with a February vacation. School would get out June 16 if no snow days.

• Option C - Start Sept. 2 without February vacation. School would get out June 17 if no snow days.

• And Option D - Start Sept. 2 with a February vacation. School would get out June 23 if no snow days.

April vacation would stay April 19-23 under all four scenarios.

DiModica said he’d received “probably 100 emails” of response as of Tuesday morning, acknowledging that responses were about “50-50” for and against having a February vacation.

He said the current schedule occasionally prompts a complaint from a parent, but most seem happy that their children are still in school so soon after Christmas. Teachers have definitely expressed that they’d like to see February vacation restored, he said.

DiModica said when the change was previously made away from a February vacation under former Supt. Phil Thornton, the thought at the time was that other surrounding districts would follow suit, but he and others have been surprised that such a reality hasn’t played out.

Parents with students in different schools have found the lack of a February vacation to be an inconvenience, especially for childcare and vacations, said DiModica, but there is never a perfect scenario everyone is happy with.

Having the one teacher professional development day after Presidents Day before students return has also been cited as an issue, said DiModica.

Comments

Option E. remove Feb. and April vacations, have one week off in March and call it a day. Too much time out of school and note, there is a 4 day weekend in lieu of Feb. vacation as things stand now for the students. They are off on Monday and Tuesday next week.

Tuesday??????

Chief, yes, Tuesday Feb 18 is a Professional Development day. There is no school Feb 17 and Feb 18.

Here's the current calendar: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UNMWDVDLS1P_DBKqjfPHQODli3iXSF1V/view

Keeping it the way it is and starting earlier makes sense. They get out early and don't have to sit in a hot building towards the end of June. We don't have the February vacation now besides the 2 days this week, and it works great. If they start earlier then it will be less of a gap between when camps end and school starts also, helping families not having to find child care for one less week.