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District 196 board changes calendar to make April 21 no school for all students

The District 196 School Board on Monday approved an administrative recommendation to make Thursday, April 21 a day of no school for all students in the district.

April 21 will continue to be a day of work for employees to provide time to complete regular duties that have been deferred while responding to significant staffing challenges caused by COVID-19 this school year. For example, Transportation Department office and shop employees have been driving buses every day this year to fill routes that are open due to driver and chaperone illness and absences. As a result, they have had to delay work they would normally be doing during this time, such as routine bus maintenance by the vehicle technicians. The same is true for custodians and food services staff needing time for deep cleaning and maintenance responsibilities, clerical and office staff catching up on correspondence, and teachers needing time to plan lessons, meet as instructional teams and prepare for the final six weeks of the school year, according to the recommendation. 

There will be no YMCA School-Age Care (SAC) on April 21.

Superintendent Mary Kreger said the administration understands the significance of changing the calendar and the difficulties it can create for families who need to find alternate care for young children. The exceptional circumstances of the pandemic have made it necessary to change the calendar several times during the district’s nearly two-year response to the pandemic. Kreger said this change was proposed now to give families two months to make alternate arrangements for a day of no school on April 21.

The idea was presented to bargaining group representatives and members of the superintendent’s parent and teacher leader groups in Zoom meetings held the week of February 7. At the end of each meeting, participants were asked to answer a single survey question; nearly 90% responded “yes,” to proceed with a recommendation to make April 21 a day of no school for students.

Friday, April 22 is already a scheduled data analysis day for staff, with no school for all students. Employees will be allowed to use personal days on April 21 and 22, if they choose.