Washington senator suggests eliminating summer vacation

Jhon Thor
The Senate Early Learning and K-12 committee meets on January 11th, 2018.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The ranking Republican member on the Senate’s Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, a Washington senator from the state’s 12th congressional district, suggests swapping summer vacation and spring break in schools throughout the state this year.

Rep. Brad Hawkins released a statement on Friday morning, announcing his idea of re-vamping the traditional school schedule that’s been followed for decades. Considering the entire Fall term was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rep. Hawkins wants the state to consider full in-person instruction at schools ahead of the 2021-22 school year.

By doing this, Rep. Hawkins hopes to preserve the traditional 180-day school year model and provide a fresh start for next year.

“I am a big proponent of reimagining the school calendar in the long term, especially as our state prepares to pull out of this pandemic, but this year is unique and also presents an opportunity for us to think differently,” Hawkins said. “The state provides districts full flexibility on how they spread their 180 instructional days. Most school districts would agree that in-person instruction is ideal. With the state taking so long for school employee vaccinations and few districts seemingly eager to resume their full operations, it makes sense to me to cut those losses, swap those breaks, and move ahead.”

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Putting children back in schools in the summer instead of the spring allows more time to get teachers and school faculty vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus that derailed the start of this school year.

One of the biggest hurdles this initiative will face is gaining support from unions and local bargaining groups, Rep. Hawkins says. He also noted the approval of House Bill 1368, which will allocate over $700 million for K-12 education assistance.

We definitely can’t have the teachers’ union or some districts resisting the reopening of schools because they are so fundamental to our communities and families. We all need to work together to make sure all students receive the education they deserve. I’m proposing another option to help do this,” Hawkins said.

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