Skip to main content

Anoka-Hennepin School District has become the latest to extend winter break due to the ongoing toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on staff and students, and other districts are considering such a move. 

The state's largest school district said this week it has modified winter break to "address staffing shortages and mental health needs for school communities," so it is adding two days onto winter break — Dec. 22 and Jan. 3. Students won't have school either day, while Jan. 3 will be a staff planning day (the district is closed Dec. 22).

Anoka-Hennepin Schools decided to do this to "address the impact of staffing shortages," noting it has more than 200 unfilled positions and a shortage of temporary help, which has impacted every position in the district, the district's website said. The plan was supported by the school board after the district reviewed staffing trends over the last few years and scrutinized trends the past two months.

"These changes will allow custodial, clerical, child nutrition, para-educator, transportation, counselors and social workers, administration, childcare, and instructional staff the opportunity to catch up on essential work to support our students," the district said on its website. "We’re taking action now to support student learning opportunities through the remainder of the year."

The district says these calendar modifications are in addition to "internal actions to streamline work and prioritize essential activities in our schools."

"These modifications are intended to support district operations and student learning while attempting to minimize the impacts on families," the district said. 

High school athletics and activities scheduled for Dec. 22 and Jan. 3 will continue as planned unless announced otherwise. 

Anoka-Hennepin is also looking at making other changes to the district calendar between February-May, but it has yet to finalize those plans.

St. Paul Public Schools earlier this week added two days onto winter break to help students, families and staff for pandemic stress. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Park school district last week decided to cancel classes Dec. 20-21 for the mental and physical health of all, while Rochester schools will give students four days off throughout the school year, the Pioneer Press said.

Related [Nov. 30]: St. Paul schools add 2 days to winter break due to pandemic stress

And Duluth Public Schools is considering extending winter break by two days due to staffing shortages and increased COVID-19 cases in the community. 

“With general staffing shortages, many unfilled positions, and a shortage of temporary help, every position in the district has been impacted. We need to ensure that we have sufficient custodial, clerical, child nutrition, paraprofessional, transportation, support, childcare, and instructional staff to safely serve our students,” Duluth Superintendent John Magas said in a statement to FOX 21.

"We also want to ensure student, staff, and family safety by providing COVID testing opportunities for students and staff as they return to school from our winter break. 

"With the recent increases in case numbers, as well as the unknowns related to the new variant, we are planning to offer testing through local public health and our community partners on Monday, Jan. 3.”

The district is proposing adding Dec. 22 and Jan. 3, 2022, onto winter break. Currently, winter break goes from Dec. 23-Dec. 31.

The school board will consider this at its meeting on Tuesday. 

Next Up

ambulance

Man dies after being 'punched in the head' during altercation in Duluth

A 46-year-old man is in custody and facing 1st-degree manslaughter charges.

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders says Zimmer, Spielman hadn't spoken 'in months'

Sanders' comments revealed some of the Vikings' issues last season.

police tape, crime scene

Brooklyn Park man pleads guilty in 2020 fatal drive-by shooting

Devon Manley will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.48.35 AM

Man gets 10 years for fatal pawn shop fire during Minneapolis riots

The incident, which took place during riots in May 2020,  resulted in one man's death.

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Election officials dismiss conservative group's complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar

The group alleged that she used campaign funds on her future husband's consulting firm.

Screen Shot 2022-01-15 at 9.53.04 AM

Reports: 6 names surface in Vikings' search for new head coach

Six names have surfaced Saturday in the Minnesota Vikings' hunt for a new head coach.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Minnetonka approves mask mandate in emergency ordinance

The mandate officially goes into effect Monday night.

snow, measuring snow, snow totals

Here are the snow totals from Friday's winter storm in Minnesota

There was a sharp gradient around the Twin Cities, with the highest amounts in southwestern Minnesota.

Mats Zuccarello

Zuccarello scores twice, Wild win third straight

A team effort helped Minnesota dispatch the Ducks.

Rep. Tou Xiong

State lawmaker Tou Xiong apologizes after driving under the influence

The state representative was pulled over on the night of Jan. 8.

St Lukes Duluth GSV Pro

Duluth hospital requiring visitors to show vax proof, neg. test

The health care system is also tightening visitor guidelines.

ridgeview urgent care facebook

Ridgeview halting urgent care at a Twin Cities site 'until further notice'

The organization cited "growing emergency medical needs" at the facility.

Related

Pixabay - school - classroom

St. Paul schools add 2 days to winter break due to pandemic stress

The added days off are meant to acknowledge the stress the pandemic has caused.

school, classroom

Osseo district extends winter break to let teachers 'destress and re-energize'

The school board and district leadership team acknowledged the difficult circumstances the pandemic has created and decided to give everyone some extra time off.

classroom mask

Anoka-Hennepin, Moorhead schools enact mask mandates

Previously, the districts were only recommending masks for unvaccinated students and staff.

school, school bus, covid

Anoka-Hennepin, Bloomington districts moving elementary to distance learning

Bloomington Public Schools is going virtual only for winter sports.

football

Anoka-Hennepin school board votes to continue with sports, activities

The district is shifting to a distance-learning model due to rising COVID-19 numbers in the county.

school, classroom, students

Osterholm: School districts should decide if they return to school or not

A decision is supposed to be announced "by the week of July 27."

classroom mask

Rochester schools may change mask rules to require them for all

The school board will consider the proposal, as well as others, on Aug. 17.