Students head into a portable classroom in Chilliwack. (Black Press file)

Two-week spring break planned for 2021 in Chilliwack school district

Longer break has ‘a profound impact on vulnerable families that require consistency and support’

Should spring break be two weeks or one week?

The perennial question is up for discussion yet again at the Chilliwack Board of Education’s regular meeting Tuesday evening.

As of now, the school calendar for 2020-2021 will include a two-week spring break yet again in a plan decided upon by arbitrator Elaine Doyle who reviewed submissions from the Board of Education and the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association (CTA), according to a staff report in the board’s March 10 meeting agenda package.

The annual debate about the spring break comes up every year, at least in part, because the number of instructional days changes and this year the two-week break pushes the daily instructional minutes above the collective bargaining agreement. This means a letter of understanding has to be signed by the Board and the CTA.

• READ MORE: Two-week calendar agreed to ‘in principle’ by Chilliwack teachers’ union – 2018

• READ MORE: Keeping kids busy with spring break camps and events in Chilliwack

The proposed calendar to be approved by the board Tuesday calls for 15 teaching minutes per day over and above the collective bargaining agreement for elementary school, 10 minutes for middle school, and seven minutes for secondary.

In advance of the 2020-2021 calendar being prepared, the district held a survey. A total of 3,320 responses were received, 65 per cent of which (2,172) did not support the initial draft calendar that called for a one-week spring break and a reduction in elementary recess time from 15 minutes to 10.

Thirty-five per cent (1,148) supported the draft and the one-week spring break.

“The school district has more than 14,000 students so, presumably, the majority of parents did not complete the survey,” the staff report stated. “The Board will have to consider different options for collecting feedback for the 2021-2022 school calendar given the low participation rates.”

While the major reason cited for the two-week was to allow students and staff to rest and re-energize, and provide for family time including vacations, the one-week break is often favoured by lower income families and vulnerable students.

”Although a decision has been rendered by arbitrator Elaine Doyle, it is worthy to note that a school calendar that includes a two-week spring break has a profound impact on vulnerable families that require consistency and supports in their lives. This includes single parent families and low income parents having the ability to work during the second week of spring break, and the opportunity for vulnerable students to obtain much needed supports from their local school communities during the second week of spring break (e.g., access to food programs, academic and social/emotion supports and interventions, external agency supports working with schools, etc.).”

• READ MORE: Chilliwack students travelling overseas for spring break asked to self-isolate

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Are you a senior needing help during COVID-19? These Chilliwack volunteers are here for you

Picking up groceries and phone chats are just some of the services being offered at no charge

Chilliwack Learning Society finds new way to get free books to kids amid COVID-19 pandemic

Debbie Denault is hoping others will join her in handing out free books in their own neighbourhoods

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

‘I love you this much’: Chilliwack firefighters share drone video on two-metre physical distancing

The Chilliwack Firefighters Association has been doling out helpful, visual reminders about COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Exercises move online with YMCA’s new nationwide virtual workout program

YThrive Home offers dozens of free workout videos for people during COVID-19 self-isolation period

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

B.C. community service provider hosts friendly art competition for youth

Theme for Pacific Community Resources contest is ‘finding the silver lining in difficult times’

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

TransLink to reduce service on some bus routes, SeaBus, West Coast Express

Changes start April 6 ‘due to low ridership and financial pressures’ amid COVID-19

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read