New DCPS calendar eliminates February break

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Courtesy of DCPS website

Sarah Morgan

DCPS removed February break for the 2020-21 school year, adding the vacation days to Inauguration Day weekend and summer break.

Deputy Press Secretary for DCPS Ashlynn Profit said that the reasoning for the calendar shift was that “DCPS’ goal is to strike a balance between giving students and staff time during the year to recharge while also ensuring we have a meaningful summer break.” 

 “The shorter February break ensures DCPS is able to provide a sufficiently long summer break,” Profit said. “Additionally, we received feedback from the community that February break can present a challenge for families with younger children who need to find childcare when school is not in session.” She noted that one of the drawbacks was that “the window between winter and spring break can feel long for both students and staff.”

A survey was open from December 2019, when the proposal was published, to January 5, aiming to get feedback from DCPS students, staff, and parents. Profit said that more than 3,000 people gave their thoughts, and since then they have decided to remove it from the next school year, as stated before, and shorten it for the two years after that. 

Principal Kimberly Martin stated that she did not have any power over the calendar and that she had come to appreciate February break. “I had no understanding of why there was a February break,” Martin said, “until I took my first vacation in February, and then it was wonderful! The flights were cheaper, and I hadn’t realized how exhausted I was in February.”

Social studies teacher Aaron Besser agrees, though he believes the timing of February break can be troublesome for educators. “February break throws a wrench in everyone’s schedule and sometimes as a teacher, it can be hard to cram [a] unit between the start of term three and February break. While I’m sad to see the week go, I respect DCPS’s decision.”

Some students are disappointed and have been dissatisfied with the week-long winter break, in comparison to other school systems with breaks that are two-weeks long. “It kinda sucks because everyone else has two weeks off except for us and I think that if you take away February break and make school longer, it doesn’t really add up,” junior Johann Queck said.

 Sophomore Libby Brown agrees. “I like having the break, [and] I honestly wouldn’t mind it being moved into winter break, but if it’s just being taken away, I don’t want that.” 

The full calendar has been released and can be found on the DCPS website.