Danville school board set to vote on calendar with fall break

Danville school board set to vote on calendar with fall break

DANVILLE — Each year, Danville schools students and staff following a traditional calendar look forward to spring break.

Starting next year, they could have a fall break, as well.

School board members on Wednesday will vote on whether to approve calendars for the next three years. The calendars include a weeklong break in mid-October for pre-K and all K-12 schools except for Northeast Elementary Magnet School, which runs on a balanced-calendar schedule that already includes a three-week break in the fall.

Currently, the breaks are set for Oct. 15-19 in the 2018-19 school year, Oct. 14-18 in 2019-20 and Oct. 12-16 in 2020-21.

"Our attendance is usually low during that week," John Hart, assistant superintendent for elementary education, said, referring to the week after Columbus Day.

Hart said the idea for the time off was raised during a health and wellness fair for faculty and staff.

Recently, he added, a survey taken by most employees showed that 321 favored the idea. Eighty-one favored keeping the current calendar without a break, and six had no opinion.

"It's good for mental health," Hart said, also pointing out, "It's small enough that kids aren't going to lose any of the information they've learned."

Hart said administrators were able to add the days off without drastically changing the start and finish dates.

For example, this year, most students' first full day was Aug. 22. If the calendars are approved, their first full day would be Aug. 16, about a week earlier.

The last day of school would be May 29, if no emergency days are used, and June 5, if all five days are used.

Hart said some parents have questioned whether the break would increase or decrease the number of days students would be in session.

The answer: No.

"Kids will still be in school 180 days," he said.

Hart said officials will resurvey staff next year on whether the time off was useful or caused any problems.

"If we find it doesn't work, we'll be able to change it back," he said.

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