After the first 50 days of school, teachers and pupils will get a long fall break, courtesy of a calendar developed by a committee of teachers last year.
Coupled with Oct. 17, a staff development day that also is a student holiday, the Oct. 20-22 fall break will give pupils six days away from the classroom.
In addition to the laundry list of typical holidays - three days for Thanksgiving, the 10-day Christmas holiday, a Jan. 5 teacher workday and Martin Luther King holiday Jan. 19 - the school calendar includes a new mid-winter break Feb. 13-16. After that, there is a teacher staff development day March 12 and five days for spring holidays April 5-9.
But the extra holidays this year have pushed the 180-day school year to May 21. Last year, the school year ended May 16.
Kristy Patterson, a stay-at-home mom, plans to take her daughter Blair, a third-grader at Evans Elementary School, and her younger child on a trip to visit family in Tennessee. Though it's not an inconvenience for her, she said she can see how it would be for others.
"I would rather not have it," she said. "In November, they have another break for Thanksgiving, then the next month they have a big winter break. I don't really see a need for it."
While Mike and Becky Sharpton are working, their two children - Tara, a third-grader at Martinez Elementary School, and Lauren, a seventh-grader at Evans Middle School - will spend the fall holiday with their babysitter.
"They are just going for a long, boring day, in lieu of a couple of hours after school," Sharpton said. "I was wondering how well received this is going to be."
Columbia County students will have Friday, Oct. 17, to Wednesday, Oct. 22, off from school.
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