This year it was forced upon them. Starting next year, it will be incorporated into the school calendar.

A couple of weeks ago, Evanston/Skokie District 65 had to make a last-minute decision to close school on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Too many teachers had taken sick days, and not enough substitutes were available.

Many working parents were angered by the move, which forced them to scramble for child care, or stay home and miss work themselves.

But now, the district administration plans to make an entire week-long Thanksgiving vacation part of the normal school schedule, adding Monday and Tuesday to the usual Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off.

The proposed week-long break was included in the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school calendars presented to the Curriculum and Policy Committee on Monday.

Board vice-president Biz Lindsay-Ryan said the additional time off allows “for our educators to have a more restorative break.”

Teachers had complained of increased stress from the combination of COVID-19, multiple changes in school policies and programs, and the challenge of kids and educators returning to the building full-time after so many months on remote learning.

While the calendar still needs to be approved by the full school board, there is little doubt that will happen.

Board member Marquise Weatherspoon said she will have her children watch the video replay of this committee meeting where the calendar was discussed.

It’s “set in stone they will have a full week next year,” Weatherspoon said. “They were excited about it this year.”

But, sorry kids, despite more time off at Thanksgiving, the calendar will be adjusted so the total number of school days for the year will not decrease.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.