MINNESOTA, USA — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired on Nov. 30, 2021.
Multiple Minnesota school districts have modified or extended their 2021 winter break calendars because of ongoing challenges related to staffing, mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Below is a list of several districts that have announced these changes, and which dates will be impacted for students, staff and families.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of all Minnesota districts.
Minnesota's largest school district announced it's extending the upcoming break to address staffing shortages and "mental health needs for school communities."
The district is modifying the following two days on its calendar:
- Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021: No school for students, district closed
- Monday, Jan. 3, 2022: No school for students, staff planning day
Additional dates in February and May could be switched from in-person to asynchronous learning or non-school days, or used for staff planning, according to the district.
Duluth Public Schools is extending its winter break by two days, citing "COVID safety, staffing shortages, and mental health needs." The district says classes will no longer be held on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 and Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, and the school and district offices will be closed.
Superintendent John Magas says the district will work to provide food and mental health support, as well as child care, associated with the extension.
The district also plans to offer staff and student booster clinics prior to break, as well as COVID testing for staff and students on Jan. 3.
Interim superintendent Kent Pekel announced that students won't have school on four Wednesdays (Dec. 8, Feb. 9, April 20 and May 11) so that the district can focus on "staff planning to meet students needs during the pandemic and well-being activities." Feb. 21 was also added as a well-being day for staff and students.
The district is making its winter break a full two weeks this year "in an effort to acknowledge the challenges currently facing schools and families."
The winter break calendar now includes Dec. 20-22, with school resuming on Jan. 3, 2022.
The district says Jan. 18, previously scheduled as a staff professional development day, and March 4, a digital learning day, are now in-person instruction days for students.
The district is adding two more days to its winter break schedule to make it a full two weeks. The break will now begin on Dec. 20, with students returning to classes on Jan. 3, 2022.
Monday, Dec. 20 will be a professional development day for school staff and regular day for all other SPPS staff. Tuesday, Dec. 21 will be a non-school day for all students and school staff, but a regular day for the rest of the SPPS staff.