No more Feb. school vacation in Warwick – but there’s a tradeoff

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Thousands of students in Warwick returned to school Wednesday morning, rather than having the entire week following Presidents’ Day off for vacation. Tuesday had been a staff development day.

Instead of a full week in February, the district’s new policy took effect this year allowing students to end the year a little earlier in June.

Mayor Scott Avedisian said his office hasn’t received any complaints about the compromise. “We’ve seen some school districts go to getting rid of the February and April vacations… We’re trying to be middle of the road,” he said.

Melissa Ventura, a mother of two children attending Washington Oak Elementary School in Coventry, said she likes the February break as it is – and having her kids at home all this week. “I think it gives kids a little bit of an opportunity to catch up with their schoolwork, catch up with their friends,” she said.

Some worried the change would lead to a spike in absenteeism. In fact, on Wednesday, Warwick school officials said fewer than fifty faculty members called out sick, which is less than an average day. Student absenteeism was in the normal range too; about ten percent of students were out.

Avedisian said one day, he’d like to see the Rhode Island Department of Education come up with a uniform, statewide schedule.

With the new regime, the last day of the 2017-2018 school year would have been June 7, a whole week earlier than the previous year. However, after snow days and other weather-related cancellations, classes will run until June 18 and 19.