Across the state, thousands of Oregon students will have a four-day weekend next week.
Schools statewide already have Thursday, Nov. 11, off for Veterans Day. But many schools have changed their calendar to add Friday, Nov. 12, as another day off for students.
Some schools are giving the day to teachers as a grading day. Some school districts, like Portland Public Schools, made it a day for staff training.
“November 12 will give teachers back a professional development day after so much of their non-classroom time has been consumed by the demands of opening safely during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said PPS in a statement announcing the school board’s approval of the day off.
PPS, like other school districts, said staffing shortages have left little time for curriculum adoption and other planning.
In Lincoln County and others, district officials anticipate substitute shortages that would place a burden on staff at a time when school are already dealing with shortages.
“Thinking about how difficult this day could be for students in school situations where teachers and other staff are pressed to the limit, there is not enough reason to keep November 12 a student day,” said Lincoln County Supt. Karen Gray in an announcement to staff late last month.
In its statement announcing the calendar change, Estacada officials said they anticipate high levels of absences.
“Our staff and families are already observing high levels of fatigue as children adjust to full-time in-person learning again,” said the release.
Other districts that will not have school Nov. 12 include Beaverton, Salem-Keizer, Umatilla, West Linn-Wilsonville, Corvallis, Eugene 4j, McMinnville, Hillsboro, Yamhill-Carlton, Coquille and Greater Albany Public Schools.
In a message on its website about staff well-being and retention, the Corvallis School District said November 12 is a day for staff and students to “recharge”.
Corvallis said the local Boys and Girls Club will be open Nov. 12 for families who need care. In Salem-Keizer, officials say they are working with providers to offer child care that day.
The Oregon Department of Education has not sent any communication to school districts about Nov. 12.
Some of the country’s largest school districts have announced a no-school day Nov. 12 too, including Chicago Public Schools. Officials there closed schools for the day to promote COVID-19 vaccinations.
At least one district in Oregon is taking a similar step. The Bethel School District in Lane County will hold a vaccine clinic for students age 5-11 at Willamette High School on Nov. 12.
Employees at other school districts have taken notice. During the Gresham-Barlow School District school board meeting Thursday, Gresham-Barlow Education Association president Rhett Hyman told board members making the day a non-student day would show support for everything staff have been doing this year.
“If you’re looking for something to take off the plate of staff, that would be really awesome,” Hyman said. “I do know it’s late notice.”
Several school districts said they will still meet the state’s instructional time requirements for the year, so there will be no need to make up the day.