Thanksgiving break schedule wastes resources

With Thanksgiving break approaching, members of the Marshall community are looking forward to having some much needed time off from school. Students are heading off to visit family across the country and a good number of them will end up missing school on Wednesday. With so many students absent, it does not make sense for school to be in session on the biggest travel day of the year.

FCPS is one of the few school systems in the D.C. area that does not close on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. All neighboring school districts are closed that day knowing the priorities of the community lie with their vacations. It is completely unreasonable how FCPS chooses to remain open on a day when so many other school systems are closed and students are absent.

The current Thanksgiving holiday schedule in FCPS is not an efficient use of time and resources. With the two hour early dismissal, students only come to school for a few hours. Those who do attend often leave earlier than that in order to catch flights or join their family on the road. Attendance during the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is often the lowest of the year with over 200 students absent on average in Marshall alone. Because so many students are out that day, teachers often do not teach anything new and instead give students a free period. This is a waste of time for all involved.

According to the FCPS website, cancelling school on Wednesday would save FCPS roughly $1.5 million. Does it really make sense to run buses, turn on the lights, pay janitors, operate the cafeteria and incur all of the other expenses necessary to run the school system that day?

The FCPS calendar does not have to completely change for a holiday on Wednesday. The county can use one of its 13 built in snow days or eliminate unnecessary student holidays in order to make room for the change.

While one extra day for Thanksgiving may not seem like a lot, it is a common sense change that would impact families plans positively. It will alleviate stress and give students more time to indulge in the Thanksgiving festivities.

It is time for the school board to recognize the need for a permanent change in order to extend the Thanksgiving break in FCPS.