Mid-winter vacation provides much-needed break in DCPS calendar


Ethan Leifman

Mid-winter break is among the few good things DCPS has accomplished in recent months. Sure, it doesn’t cancel out the numerous scandals that have plagued the school system, but it’s definitely a start.

Every February, I have been forced to suffer in school while my friends from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York gloat about their excursions to Florida, the Grand Canyon, Europe, and, more recently, their Fortnite wins at one in the morning. It’s truly demoralizing trudging up Albemarle Street to go for a sixth consecutive week of learning while my friends farther north are just relaxing, knowing that I still have five more weeks until spring break.

Legend says a vacation in February originated in Boston as a way to save energy during the freezing New England winters. However, it didn’t make its way to New York City until the oil crisis of the 1970s in which it was also used as a means to save energy. The practice is not observed in other snow-ridden areas parts of the nation like Chicago and is also absent in the Philadelphia area. As of 2016, only 14 out of 166 school districts in the U.S.had February vacations, and of those 14 almost all were in the Northeast.

Thus this prompts the question: Why does a low-snowfall city like DC even need a February vacation? Is it to boost the economy, similar to Governor Larry Hogan’s extension of Maryland Summer Vacation, in the hopes that Marylanders would flock to Ocean City? Is it to save energy? Or is it really just to “give families a rest,” in the words of DCPS themselves.

Whatever the reason, it’s truly a blessing. I hope everyone is as excited as I am for a mid-winter break full of hot chocolate, Netflix, and sleeping in.