Lawrence school board President Erica Hill has called a special meeting for 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12 to consider approving a calendar change that would extend fall break by two school days, giving teachers, staff and students a nine-day holiday.
Lawrence Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Lewis informed district families in an email and voice message Thursday afternoon that the board would consider the change, which was recommended by district administration to give teachers and students two additional days off for “wellness and self-care.”
Adding Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 22 and 23, to the break, Lewis said, would also give “staff and families a full week out of school during the Thanksgiving holiday to simply relax, recharge and spend time with loved ones.”
“I am so proud of our staff and students. They have adapted to so many changes, rose to every new challenge, and have really given their all during this pandemic. I know that it hasn’t been easy. We are listening to our teachers and students, and would like to be able to provide them this extended break,” Lewis said in the email.
“I also understand that if this late calendar change is approved, it could cause hardships for some of our school families in terms of child care. I do apologize for this. I hope that our school families will understand and will join me in wanting to take care of our staff and students, and reward them for their amazing work.”
Lewis urged families who wanted to share feedback about the proposal to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or members of the school board at email@example.com.
The Times reached out to Hill to inquire how much notice of the meeting was given to board members. The Times also sent an email to district spokesperson Julie Boyle to ask whether the meeting would be livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel. As of publication time, no agenda was posted on the board’s webpage.
Under state law, public meetings must be open to all members of the public. The school board typically meets at 110 McDonald Drive, though it wasn’t immediately clear Thursday whether the meeting would be held in the board room.
Generally, those who wish to give public comment during school board meetings via WebEx can email firstname.lastname@example.org before the meeting start time to receive a link to join by phone or videoconferencing.
The board initially approved the 2021-2022 school calendar — with no school on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24-26 — at its meeting on Feb. 22, 2021.
Update, 6:32 p.m. Thursday:
A brief special meeting agenda was added to the district’s website, stating that “Administration recognizes that students and staff have been giving their all during the pandemic and would benefit from having additional time to support their well-being during the fall break. Since there is no adverse impact on the instructional time necessary to meet the State attendance requirements, administration recommends the revision to the 2021-2022 calendar.”