graphic by Marissa Arnold
Many students look forward to spring break, only to find that most of it has been taken away to make up for snow days. Most years, this ends up shortening the break to only one or two school days off, if any.
Even before snow make-up days, Cornwall-Lebanon School District’s spring break is shorter than that of many other districts. It is only three days long while other districts, such as Conestoga Valley, have spring breaks lasting an average of a week. As a result, students and faculty alike miss out on the benefits spring break provides.
One such benefit is that it can help improve mental health.
According to psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne, vacation periods, such as spring break, can help break the cycle of stress. This helps protect students from the consequences of stress, which include reduced sleep quality, decreased immunity and worsened student performance.
Additionally, a longer spring break would give students a break before getting into the busy spring season with standardized tests such as Keystones and AP exams. Students could also spend some of their time off to study for these tests.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires all public schools to have at least 180 days of school instruction. In order to meet this requirement, school districts eliminate some scheduled days off when school is cancelled due to bad weather.
One potential way of lengthening spring break is to change the structure of the school year.
Underclassmen have 184 days of school while seniors only have 180. If those extra four days were added onto spring break and graduation was pushed back, all students would still be able to meet the 180 school day requirement.
Another solution that would allow spring break to be longer is putting assignments online for students to complete on snow days. This prevents them from needing to make up days because the snow days then count as days of instruction.
This may make individual snow days less relaxing for students, but it would allow them to enjoy the benefits of a longer spring break. Additionally, since many courses in the district already have online components, it would be fairly easy to implement this.
This may cause students in grades 1-3, who are not issued one-to-one computers, and those who do not have internet access to fall behind. However, teachers could give these students paper copies of the assignments so that they would still have the ability to complete them.
Overall, having a longer spring break would give students the chance to relax and have a break from school to mentally prepare for the last quarter of the school year.