There will be an April Vacation in Manchester this year

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The April 13 BOSC Meeting

MANCHESTER, N.H. – There will be an April Vacation for Manchester Public School students this year.

In a 7-6 vote, the Manchester Board of School Committee  (BOSC) defeated a proposal that would eliminate the vacation and push the beginning of Summer Vacation back one week.

Ward 9 BOSC Member Arthur Beaudry was the strongest proponent of the concept, citing recent polling that showed parents and students in favor of the move and teachers split down the middle.

Beaudry noted that if a vacation were to occur, it would pose a challenge to parents since they would be unable to take their children anywhere due to Governor Chris Sununu’s stay-at-home emergency order, set to expire on May 5.

“As a board member, I hope we recognize that this isn’t going to be a normal school year and we have to allow flexibility,” he said.

Beaudry also noted that a lack of vacation would impact students that rely on meals provided by bus through the district, but Mayor Joyce Craig noted that the meals would continue to be provided whether vacation occurs or not.

Ward 4 BOSC Member Leslie Want added many teachers she had talked to were just beginning to get into the groove of remote learning brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While both supporters and opponents of eliminating vacation agreed that this year’s week off cannot be an opportunity for students to see their long-lost friends or travel, At-Large BOSC Member Jim O’Connell said that the cancellation of the vacation could have unintended consquences, such as for one constituent who told him that their visitation rights were limited to April Vacation week and changing that week could impact that family’s dynamic.

Ward 8 BOSC Member Peter Perich also said that the lost week at the end of the school year could be used by eighth-graders and high school seniors for one last opportunity to savor the time in their schools before they move on to new challenges.

Other BOSC members also indicated they had received notifications from educators of exhaustion in the transition.

In addition to Beaudry and Want, the motion was supported by Ward 3 BOSC Member Karen Soule, Ward 5 BOSC Member Jeremy Dobson, Ward 12 BOSC Member Kelly Thomas and At-Large BOSC Member Joseph Lachance.

The mayor, Perich and O’Connell opposed the motion along with Ward 1 BOSC Member James Porter, Ward 2 BOSC Member Kathleen Kelley-Arnold, Ward 10 BOSC Member Jane Beaulieu and Ward 11 BOSC Member Nicole Leapley.

It is unclear if Ward 8 BOSC Member William Shea was in attendance at the meeting, which was held via video conference call and Ward 6 BOSC Member Dan Bergeron did not vote due to technical difficulties.

About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.