Published Nov. 12, 2021
BY SAFIA BOUHAJA
Due to a history of poor attendance during the week of the Thanksgiving holiday break and results from a district-wide survey, November break will be extended throughout Carmel Unified School District to a full week for the first time this year.
Since the ‘90s, CUSD has only ever had three days off for Thanksgiving. This year, a survey of all CUSD staff, prompted by the poor attendance rates, revealed a majority of faculty favored a transition to a weeklong break.
“Attendance on the Monday and Tuesday before November break has been quite poor,” principal’s secretary Lisa Brazil explains. “So it’s been discussed for many years that maybe we should extend the break so some students can go away for Thanksgiving.”
The addition of these break days also required school days to be added to other parts of the school year to maintain the minimum amount of required school days.
“By law, we have to have at least 180 school days,” principal Jonathan Lyons explains, “so we used the Friday during Car Week and were able to utilize days from starting school earlier.”
Although there are some concerns about lost class time, students and teachers alike welcome a break before the end of the semester.
“So many students are absent on those two days anyway,” English teacher Carli Barnett says. “We might as well just take the whole week off. I think it’s a wonderful idea.”
Many students plan on taking advantage of the additional time to travel with their friends and families for the holidays, as well as other festive Thanksgiving activities. While junior Madison Snellgrose will visit family in Reno during break, senior Trinity Terranova will be going up to Colorado to have a family reunion.
Other students look at the long break as an opportunity to recharge before final exams.
“Finals week can be extremely stressful and exhausting mentally,” senior Kamber Klopfenstein says. “I think that having that week off before finals could help students regain that focus and energy.”
The number of school days hasn’t changed, but some staff are concerned the redistribution could be difficult to manage. Missing a full week in Thanksgiving may put extra stress on teachers to make up the lost class time before the end of the semester.
“It’s nice to have the entire week off,” World History teacher Bruce Dini says. “But on the other hand, it’s hard to make up that time.”
Whether Thanksgiving break will be extended going forward is still in question. CUSD’s decision will likely depend on how the break this year unfolds and how well teachers will be able to make up for the missed class time.