RI students gradually returning to school as February breaks vary


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The meaning of the term “February vacation” has changed in Rhode Island in recent years.

While every school has time off between Friday, Feb. 14, and Friday, Feb. 21, the amount of time varies by district. Some such as Barrington and Cumberland had Monday off for President’s Day, others like Providence and Newport had a portion of the week off, and the remaining districts such as Cranston and East Providence won’t return to the classroom until next Monday.

RI School Calendar: Full list of holidays and recesses »

In 2017, a dozen districts decided to skip or shorten winter break and another 13 followed suit in 2018. The decision was made in part to ensure the academic year doesn’t drag too long into summer once makeup days are factored in.

“We have found over the years that many families like to come back after Labor Day for the start of school. And between that and Christmas break and other breaks, some days had to give,” North Providence Superintendent Joseph Goho said.

The Providence Public School District had a four-day weekend to try and give students and staff a longer summer recess, according to spokesperson Laura Hart.

Some parents praised the decision while others disagreed with it. Christina Maciel, whose 8- and 10-year-old kids go to school in East Providence, told Eyewitness News she believes students could use the break during the year.

“I think it’s good for them to have the full week off,” she said. “In this part of the game, my kids are younger and they kind of need it. They need a break to finally get through that final push of school.”

Warwick students and staff are scheduled to resume classes on Thursday. That includes Toll Gate High School, which was closed all of last week after a water main break flooded parts of the building. Superintendent Philip Thornton said his district applied for a waiver to avoid adding extra days to the end of the school year.

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