Yes, Breaks Should Be Longer and Less Frequent

By Benjamin Jacobson (III), Contributing Writer

Students often complain about school breaks being too short. In Massachusetts, there is a requirement of 180 school days per year. With the summer vacation, weekends and holidays, that leaves only a few weeks of break. The current system at Boston Latin School consists of a short Thanksgiving break, then about a week each in December, February and April. It is important, however, to question whether or not this is the most beneficial schedule to maximize the happiness of students and faculty. The BLS community as a whole deserves better; longer and less frequent breaks are what we need.

 More frequent breaks may appear satisfactory upon first glance, but upon closer inspection, breaks are more valuable when they are longer and less frequent. They create consistency rather than a fluctuation of breaks.

Private and charter schools in the greater Boston area have two-week breaks in March and December but none in February and April. If BLS were to switch to this schedule, it would better allow for students to spend breaks with their friends, family and those who attend other schools.

Frequent breaks mean more time to travel but less time actually relaxing and relieving stress. Traveling comes at a great cost to families. BLS Italian teacher Mr. Freddy Rodriguez-Diaz expresses, “The airport personnel are rude, they lose your baggage, flights are delayed, you have many layovers, you miss a layover. […] It is not fun traveling.”

Longer breaks, on the other hand, allow for more flexibility in regard to traveling and vacationing. People do not have to worry about having jet lag when they return or missing school due to canceled flights.

Some may argue that more breaks provide more opportunities for stress relief, but constant on-and-off breaks from December to April are disruptive to school and club schedules. The current system strips students of their academic mindsets multiple times throughout each school year, while simultaneously preventing them from experiencing the bliss of rest — one week is insufficient to fully relax.

With only one week, students are able neither to fully adjust to a vacation mindset nor to revert back to an academic mindset when it is time to return to school. With two weeks, however, students will be ready to return to school energized after fully relieving their stress.

Short and frequent breaks also add turbulence to the already heavy burden on teachers. It is difficult to anticipate altering due dates for larger assignments around breaks or planning out assessments. For example, returning from December break is met by a hysterical flurry of events, with finals week planned within the following weeks and term grades closing soon after.

 There are many ways to implement the break schedule, but students and teachers benefit most from longer, more infrequent breaks. Next school year, Boston Public Schools should change the school schedule by abolishing February and April breaks to create room for two-week breaks.