I am writing to vent a bit as a mom. In February we were informed by Washoe County Schools that they would be using contingency days and many of us, myself included, made plans that depended upon those days being in use. We were told they would be. So, it makes sense that we plan on them.
Now a month before the end of the school year and many parents are reporting that without being told, their child’s schools have used days during the school year to take the place of those contingency days. So they are not using contingency days now. Even though they said they were. Confused? I know I am. And a bit disappointed. I wish we had been informed or asked. Or anything. I wish there had been consistency. I wish those contingency days were part of the school year built in, to allow for planning, and not extra days that apparently mean something until they mean nothing.
It seems as if Washoe County Schools does not give clarity in a lot of things and this is a common concern from many parents. I say extend the school year into late June, really. The summer break is too long as it is.
I had in fact planned on, and looked forward to my daughter having contingency days through June 9th. A newspaper article and television report stated that this would be the case and I had planned on it. And yet, just this week I received a newsletter from my child’s school that indicates that they are not using the contingency days. I ask my daughter’s school why and I am told that it is because they were able to get rid of them via other means. Okay but - why? We were told one thing, now it is another. This does not sit well with me. It is not okay.
And in all of this, no parents were told or consulted, no newspaper articles came out, no update from Washoe County School District informing us that some schools may be doing this. It is like our plans do not matter. I was a bit upset, I will admit.
The school system here needs to be consistent. When they announce something, it should be a thing that is happening, not a thing we cannot count on.
And while I am at it, I have to say that I believe summer is too long as it is, along with our excessive two week long Spring Break. We are not ranked very high when it comes to education and many are so concerned about the impact of the pandemic on our kids and on schools, and yet we give these long breaks that have been proven by many studies to really eat into learning ability and cause learning loss. I wish that WCSD would do better to be consistent for our kids. I am all for breaks. Breaks are important. Vacations are important. It’s great to have balance. But this entire ‘we are not using these days we said we would be using’ incident has got me thinking!
I write this to let some parents who might not yet be aware know that maybe their children’s schools have also decided to not use contingency days, despite the news coverage and letter from WCSD we all got in February. Be on the lookout and in communication with your child’s school to find out before you make plans or have any sort of conception of when the end of school will be.
And perhaps let us all do more to be involved in the school district to voice our concerns, hold them accountable for consistency, and do more to ensure that gaps do not occur in learning because of the school district’s too long Spring Break and too long Summer, in addition to the now pressing concerns of all involved regarding the pandemic’s impact on kids and learning.