Springfield superintendent: School closed week of Thanksgiving to ‘take a break’

District wants to support the physical, mental wellness of students, families, staff and the community.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Springfield City School District will be closed the week of Thanksgiving so students, staff and the community can “take a break” and concentrate on their physical and mental wellness.

“On behalf of the Board of Education, I announced to staff that the district will close the entire week of Nov. 22-26 in order for the school district to support the physical and mental wellness of our team, families and community,” said Superintendent Bob Hill. “Take the break that you deserve. Take the break that you need, your family needs and our community needs.”

Hill said he went to the school board about taking the week off to explain what he has seen and what “he knows in his heart to be true,” that the staff, students, families and community is exhausted.

“Our families, community and nation asked us to be dedicated, to focus on the curriculum, to put our students first and to stay positive. I believe our staff has exceeded those expectations, but it is clear that the process has also taken its toll,” he said.

Beth Sebastian, who has a sixth grader at Horace Mann, said she is happy the district changed it from a three-day break to the entire week.

“This allows families to take the week and go out of town not feeling rushed. The students along with the teachers deserve the additional days,” she said.

As the coronavirus set in almost two years ago, Hill credits the pandemic as one of the reasons for the break. He says it’s been an uphill battle, but always had students at the center of district decisions.

Larry Marple, second grade teacher at Snowhill, said he feels the “wellness week” is a wonderful idea and will give everyone a much needed break.

“Over the past two years of this pandemic, teachers and families have been strained beyond the limit. First with virtual teaching that we were thrown into with very little preparation and training. Then, a year with some students being virtual and some being in-person and concerns of the spread of COVID among students, staff and families,” he said.

“It lets the staff and families know that Dr. Hill, the board of education and the administration realize the need for this break,” Marple added.

The district team has had to balance teaching in different ways due to the pandemic, especially with worrying about the health and safety of classrooms.

“While we waited for an end to be in sight, we knew that we had to stay determined for the students who depend on us: We will not tire. We will keep going. These are phrases we continue to tell ourselves as our team continues to face new challenges,” Hill said.

Hill said he encourages students and staff to use this time to rest and come back re-energized.

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