Is a week and a half too short for December break?


Susanna Keiserman, Staff Writer

Like the 2020-2021 school year and the many before it, this year is scheduled to have 183 days in school.  There was, however, a change in when those days are, with the addition of holidays such as Juneteenth on June 20 and Diwali, which fell on a school day this year.  Despite these added days off from school, many students have been quick to notice the change in our winter break.  In comparison to the 2-plus weeks allotted to celebrate the winter holidays last year, Dec. break this year is only 11 days.  This certainly is not ideal for those seeking a longer rest in between the often busy weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas and January midterms.  With only two days off before Christmas and one after New Years, this shortened break is also inconvenient for seniors wanting time to relax after submitting their college applications.

 “Although I haven’t completely looked at the breakdown of the district calendar this year, it feels like break is going to be really short and I think that all of us, especially seniors, could really use some more time off,” said senior Terry McGinty.  

Given that last year, with a long break, and this year have the same amount of school days, where did these extra 9 days go?  New holidays have been added to our calendar, such as Juneteenth, celebrating and remembering the emancipation of enslaved people in America, and the festival of lights, Diwali, celebrated in Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism.  Despite the disappointment of a shorter winter break, these holidays are important for the district to recognize.

“It’s obviously annoying that we only have 11 days off for December break, but I think it’s good that students that celebrate other religious holidays, that many school districts don’t give time off for, are given a day off to celebrate them and everyone else can appreciate it,” said junior Tarah Parmar.

It is true that other school districts in the area have different recess schedules, with Roslyn, Manhasset, and Great Neck North, among others not having a day off for Diwali.  Some of those schools have an even shorter winter break, though, as they attend school on Dec. 23.  In addition to not recognizing all of the same religious holidays as Schreiber, those students are not enjoying a longer or even equal break than Schreiber students.  Also, as opposed to last year, this year’s district calendar includes two potential snow days and a six day spring break, in comparison to last year’s five days.  While students undoubtedly have a need to relax, get work done, and of course celebrate the holidays, the recess days are still in rotation, just at different points in the year.  Therefore, although the winter break is short, students need to understand that embracing other cultures throughout the year is essential towards Port Washington maintaining its diverse culture.