Liewicki leaks: Province-wide 'Spring Break' needed

Nathan Liewicki
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Students and parents alike can start planning their early April 2015 holidays any day now.

Liewicki

On Tuesday, Prairie South School Division (PSSD) board members voted in favour of the 2014-15 school calendar following a lengthy discussion.

Board members chose to approve the second of two calendar options, which in fact, sided with majority opinion from a 2014-15 calendar survey.

This option proposed PSSD students get three days off in mid-February and six days off in early April. It received 54 per cent of the popular vote from 1,195 surveyed participants.

The option turned down by board members would have seen students get five days off in mid-February and four days off in April.

In my humble opinion, neither option is beneficial to students.

The approved decision to give students a break from the classroom in April is close to the way the student days off should be orchestrated within a school calendar.

Even PSSD trustee Jan Radwanski’s position that students should have two, five-day breaks is offside.

Yes, I understand that winter in Saskatchewan takes a toll on all of us, but do students and staff really need a break in mid-February? As far as high schools are concerned, they start a new semester at the beginning of February.

Other than Family Day, they don’t need an extended time off so early in a new semester.

Schools don’t give time off in mid-September, so why even entertain that option in mid-February?

Growing up in Alberta, there was no such thing as a weeklong February break, let alone a weeklong April break. Instead, we had a weeklong break at the end of March, which was referred to as Spring Break.

There was no second week off, or need to have an extra five-day stretch away from the classroom.

And I’ll be honest. I still don’t know what Saskatchewan school boards call the weeklong breaks they give to students, but that doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that students and staff receive a week reprieve from the classroom. This calendar issue should not cause stress or frustration from parents, staff, students and board members alike, like it currently does.

As trustee Brian Swanson pointed out at Tuesday’s PSSD board meeting, the province needs to set a firm date on a Spring Break for Saskatchewan students.

A legislated province-wide break for all school divisions would alleviate any strains and put a clamp on absenteeism by students and teachers at times during the winter months.

I personally believe that date should be the last week of March because it provides a reprieve almost smack in the middle of Christmas holidays and the end of the school year.

Prairie South is dealing with a tedious issue when it comes to setting the days students and staff will have off during the school year.

And although not everyone will be pleased with the approval of the 2014-15 school calendar, as a board, PSSD did what it thought was best.

For that I can’t fault them and neither can you.

@Tagline:<t-2.5>Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Prairie South School Division, Saskatchewan school, PSSD board

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Alberta

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