School boards tackle Christmas break

The Toronto public and Catholic school boards want this year’s Christmas break to start later.

The boards are seeking the provincial government’s approval to make Dec. 23 the last day of school for 2011.

Students would return Jan. 9 after a two-week period.

Currently, the school boards have Dec. 16 and Jan. 2 as the last and first days.

Proponents say the change would give families more time together. But some students don’t like the deal.

“I’d rather not change it because it gives us time to prepare for Christmas and allows us to get out of school earlier,” said Marvin Estrada, a Grade 11 student at Senator O’Connor High School.

Parents divided on change

Joanette Fernandes, mother of a student at St. Bede Catholic Elementary School, does not agree with the proposed change.

“My child should have a little bit of a break before Christmas, which is why I believe the current … schedule is more adaptive to my child and my family’s schedule,” Fernandes said.

But other parents are ready to embrace the change.

“Christmas time around work is always hectic and busy, so for the kids to end just in time for Christmas allows me to be relaxed and have the opportunity to take some time off to see them,” Maria Estrades said. “I know they [children] will have to wait longer,” she said, “[but] it sounds like a good idea and I believe they should try it and see how it goes.”

The Ministry of Education says 71 of Ontario’s 72 school boards have requested the change.

Grade 12 student Vasiliki Bekiari from Wexford Collegiate pointed out the change won’t affect everyone.

“It shouldn’t really matter because not everyone celebrates Christmas and [Dec. 23] is enough time before the actual holiday,” she said.

A verdict on whether or not the proposal goes through will be decided in the spring.