Spring Break Shortened Next Year


Graphic By William Gangnath

In response to recent hazing allegations and then charges for five JV football players at Damascus, all athletic directors held a meeting with fall athletes that reviewed MCPS hazing policies.

Since the Nov. 15, 2017 approval of the MCPS 2018-19 school calendar which shortened spring break to four days, complaints have been circulating because students will lose a much needed break from school.
When creating the calendar, MCPS had to take into consideration a 2016 Executive Order signed by Gov.

Larry Hogan that required Md. public schools to begin after Labor Day and to end before June 15. MCPS encountered complications while planning the school year, corresponding through letters with the governor’s office about how to schedule the school days to accommodate the executive order.

The 2018-19 school year consists of 182 days of instruction, two closure days for planning and professional development, and two operational closures that coincide with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. However, heightened criticism of the MCPS approved calendar stems from the shortened Spring Break. The 2018 spring vacation consists of six school days off compared to 2019’s four days.

Spring Break has been included in schools from elementary school through the largest universities in the U.S. and in many other western countries for decades. After months of waking up early and cramming for tests, students and faculty alike are in need of some time off to relax and spend time with their families. However, the brief four day break is not sufficient for students to relax and take a break from school.

“I think I’m disappointed with the impact that [the shortened spring break] has on families and students,” assistant principal John Haas said. “I think that spring break is an important time to rejuvenate your batteries.”

Many families plan vacations ahead of time but since the change in schedule, they must choose to cancel their plans or miss days from school. RHS social studies teacher Beth Seabreeze has traveled internationally with students since last spring break to get to know new people, cultures and to experience a different part of the world. The shortened spring break caused a change of plans for Seabreeze like many other people; rather than the traditional spring break trip, she had to move it to a summer trip.

“Spring break is an important time to rejuvenate your batteries.”
-assistant principal John Haas

High school spring breaks usually take place from late March to early April whereas many colleges schedule their breaks in early March. This provides excellent timing for students looking to take college visits. Since high school spring breaks usually take place at different times than colleges, students are able to experience what it is like on campus when classes are in full swing. However, if spring break is too short, students are unable to visit their desired schools and take in the experience of students rushing across campus to classes, interacting with professors and friends and eating in the student union.

Rather than taking days away from spring in the following school years, a possible compromise could be to incorporate half day schedules in place of non-instructional professional days. This will allow time for staff to grade, plan and catch up on work while providing enough days of school to meet the requirement of 180 instructional days without depriving students of the much-needed break. Spring break has been a tradition as long as time; to break it into a shorter vacation is disliked by students, staff and families.