The Edmonton Public School Board approved the division’s revised calendar Tuesday afternoon, which will see five extra days off for students next year.
As a way to cut costs, the EPSB approved an addition of three PD Days and two non-instructional days for the 2020-2021 school year.
The approval of the new calendar comes after parent feedback showed a preference to have the days off “clustered” rather than spread out throughout the year.
Of the 6,676 responses from families, about 56 per cent said they preferred the days off to be clustered. About 26 per cent said they would like the days off spread out and 17.5 per cent said they would like either option.
The majority of families who preferred clustering the days said they could use the time for family vacations. They also said it would make it easier on child-care arrangements.
Of the 3,746 staff members who answered the poll, nearly 53 per cent said they like the idea of clustering the days. Nearly 27 per cent said they would prefer the days be spread out and nearly 21 per cent said they would like either option.
The majority of staff who preferred clustering the days said it was better for their health and well-being and would have a positive impact on student learning.
Board members were presented with two options for the 2020-2021 school calendar, both of which see a start date of Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020 — prior to the long weekend. Both options also see an end date of Monday, June 28, 2021. Both options include 89 school days per semester, with identical first semesters.
Where the two calendar options varied was in the second semester, with Option 1 extending spring break by one day and tacking two days off onto the May long weekend.
Calendar Option 2 saw spring break extended by four days, for a two-week break for students at the end of March and beginning of April. That option meant there would only be one day in May and June when students were not in school — the Victoria Day holiday.
In the end, the board approved calendar Option 1 by a vote of 8-1.
The division needs to provide 950 hours of instructional time to elementary and junior high students and 1,000 hours to high school students.
For the past number of years, the calendar has included 183 instructional days. By adding five additional days off for students, an extra 10 minutes of instructional time will be added to the remaining 178 days.
The board expects the new calendar to save Edmonton Public Schools more than $2 million.
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