File photo of an empty Whitehorse classroom. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

File photo of an empty Whitehorse classroom. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

Two-week spring break confirmed for SD73

Proposed calendars will be posted to the SD73 website for feedback.

Submitted by School District 73

Students and families from the Kamloops-Thompson School District will now be able to join their families and friends in the rest of the province on a two-week spring break.

School District 73 Board of Education, the Kamloops Thompson Teachers’ Association (KTTA) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees 3500 (CUPE) have agreed to the terms of an additional week for spring break.

“The Board is pleased to have successfully negotiated a two-week spring break within the KTTA collective agreement,” said Rhonda Kershaw, SD73 Board Chair. “As demonstrated by the almost unanimous vote by district union groups this will be a welcome change for staff.”

The province gives school districts authority to determine their own calendars. They must ensure students receive a minimum number of instructional hours each school year.

Results from the KTTA’s vote showed 96 per cent were in favour of a longer break.

“Teachers are looking forward to a work year that more aligns with the rest of the province,” said Laurel Macpherson, President of the KTTA. “With the additional week in the spring, teachers and students will be able to rejuvenate and come back recharged for the remainder of the school year.”

To meet the minimum number of instructional hours required by the ministry and accommodate the two-week spring break, the duration of instructional days will increase for the 2021-2022 school year. The additional instructional time will come at the end of the school day, not through a shortened lunch break.

Ninety-five per cent of CUPE members also voted in favour over the weekend.

“The extended spring break is a benefit for our membership,” said Corey Grabner, President of CUPE 3500, noting that unlike many other districts, the extra week was not proposed as a cost-cutting measure. “We were committed to ensuring that the extra week did not come at the expense of our CUPE employees.”

For CUPE, the terms include increasing the time worked each day, then banking those hours so there is no lost time for the hundreds of support staff employed by SD73. While an extended spring break has been discussed, the pandemic was an opportune time to rekindle the discussion in earnest. As one of only two districts in the province with a one-week spring break, it was found that with the additional pressures of COVID-19, SD73 school staff and families were disadvantaged.

The calendars proposed for the next three years will be posted to sd73.bc.ca for 30 days in order to receive feedback before being forwarded to the Minister of Education for approval.

The dates for the proposed extended spring break are:

March 21- April 1, 2022 for the 2021–2022 school year; March 20 – March 31, 2023 for the 2022-2023 school year; and March 18 – April 2, 2024 for the 2023-2024 school year.