Staff Editorial: Shortened winter break prompts many perspectives

Calendar influences student life


Harris Keekley

Snow falls in front of the new high school entrance Dec. 8. Winter break is now shorter than in previous years with students getting back to school Jan. 2.

With a shorter winter break, the Echo Editorial Board feels this change may be detrimental to students despite its benefits.

For the 2019-2020 school year, winter break will last Dec. 21–Jan. 2, less than the previous year’s winter break which spanned from Dec. 22Jan. 6. The final day of school for Park this school year is June 4, earlier than June 11, which was the last day of school in 2019.

According to Superintendent Astein Osei, the shortening of winter break sought to acknowledge the schedules of families and end the school year earlier, in part due to construction in the district.

The Echo Editorial Board acknowledges the complexity of the school schedule and understands multiple positives of the change to shorten winter break. These include allowing students to participate in summer programs that otherwise would interfere with school, limiting food insecurity and cutting the break short for students who look forward to school as a safe space.

Although the shorter break may be beneficial for some, the Board believes the current schedule promotes unproductivity. Returning to school for Jan. 2-3, Thursday and Friday, places teachers and students in a tough position. Potential absences during this time could put students behind, as well as requiring teachers to alter their future lesson plans. With finals approaching, this problem is exacerbated. The shortening of winter break also potentially limits students’ time with their families, which for some may be a very significant loss. In addition, the shorter break also may prevent families from traveling because of less time for vacation.

With a multifaceted entity such as the school calendar, the Board believes it is essential for the district to listen to the voices of the students. Taking student voices into account can be achieved through surveying the student body. We also believe it is essential for students to express their beliefs regarding our school system. The Board understands that the current calendar cannot be changed, but that does not mean future decisions cannot be impacted by student input.