13 school districts decide to skip or shorten February vacation this year

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Next week, most school districts in Rhode Island will be closed for school vacation. But some of the state’s largest districts, including Providence and now Warwick, will be in session for more than half of the week.

Foregoing February break for a few more days of summer recess is a decision 13 schools districts have now made. Last year, 12 school districts made the decision to shorten February vacation.

The Rhode Island Department of education calendar lists the 13 school districts that are not taking a February vacation:

  • Bristol-Warren
  • Burrillville
  • Cumberland
  • Foster-Glocester
  • Jamestown
  • Lincoln
  • North Kingstown
  • North Providence
  • Providence
  • Smithfield
  • Tiverton
  • Warwick
  • Westerly

Pamela Sayles is the mother of a junior at Pilgrim High School in Warwick, where this year the week-long February break is being replaced with a long Presidents’ Day weekend.

“I’m glad that they don’t have February school vacation,” Sayles said. “It’s something I thought they should have done a while ago.”

The change comes after a 2015 recommendation from the Rhode Island Superintendents’ Association. Officials said the move is a way to eliminate the need to make up for snow days.

In Bristol-Warren, both February and April vacations are a thing of the past. It’s the only district in the state to have a single week off in March.

Marc Ferolito, a father of two children in the Bristol-Warren school district, said his kids don’t notice a big difference in the vacation shift.

“The only difference that we actually saw was from a cost perspective,” Ferolito said, who said traveling in March is cheaper.

Parents from Warwick who spoke to Eyewitness News were supportive of the idea of moving to a March break too, perhaps even an extended one.

“I would have liked to have seen them take February and April and kind of combine them and made one perhaps in March,” Sayles said.

Bob Waring, father of a Pilgrim High School student, said a week has always been short for a vacation.

“I think they should have looked at that and combined them [February and April vacations],” Waring said.

Ferolito said he’d like to see the state make a decision to have the entire school system in Rhode Island have the second week of March as their school break. But the Department of Education leaves that decision in the hands of the districts.

This story has been updated to reflect Bristol-Warren switched to a March break this school year.