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Some Missouri teachers are getting an extended Thanksgiving break while others are left frustrated

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Thanksgiving breaks began for some schools across Mid-Missouri Monday after some districts decided to extend the holiday break this year to provide some relief to staff and students.

Jefferson City and Southern Boone are two of many that extended their break, saying that the demands of the past 18 months have worn heavily on staff, students, and families.

A fourth-grade teacher at Pioneer Trail Elementary in Jefferson City, Callie Nichols, said, "Waking up this morning and not having to go into school was a breath of fresh air."

Todd Fuller with the Missouri State Teacher's Association says many teachers thought that this year would be better.

"What we found was a lot of school districts were having a hard time placing teachers in certain positions. Many teachers retired, but more than that, many teachers just didn't come back to the profession at all," Fuller said. "So, you have a lot of teachers that are in many ways doing double duty. They don't have preparation time anymore because during those times or during the rush times, they're teaching another class. There's a lack of substitute teachers and we all know about that as well."

Trevor Roebke is a fourth-grade teacher at Southern Boone Elementary. Roebke said being a second-year teacher, he doesn't know what teaching was like before the pandemic, but he is very familiar with the hardships that COVID-19 has created.

"With COVID that added just an extra layer of hardships, you know, you've got restrictions, you've got quarantines if a student is out, you've got to provide virtual assignments and so it's just an extra level of toughness that just wasn't there in the past," Roebke said.

Not all schools across the area could fit the days into their school calendar. Michelle Baumstark with Columbia Public Schools says, "Columbia Public Schools earnestly and carefully considered the idea. Ultimately, our school calendar will not allow us to cancel days and keep the commitment we have made to our families and employees to guarantee that May 26, 2022, will be the last day of this school year."

Fuller said the teachers who don't have those days off were concerned and frustrated, especially when so many local districts around them do.

Kerri Stith, CMSTA president, says although teachers in CPS have expressed their disappointment in not getting the days off, she is glad it will not impact the end of the school year.

"We're getting that extended over the summer break; I know we would have loved to have had a couple of extra days here, you know, teachers would really look forward to that, but it's really hard to look at long term, but we'll see it in the summer," Stith said.

Southern Boone said the two days will be subtracted from the six snow days built into the school calendar. Parents/guardians can also pick up breakfast and lunch for their child for all five days of the extended break.

Fuller did add in because most districts should have made the decision earlier. "That was one of the issues that we heard the frustration on the part of some teachers as well as parents that would have liked to have known policies back in October to make changes or decisions that they needed to do concerning childcare."

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Chanel Porter

Chanel joined ABC 17 News in January 2021 after graduating from Penn State University. She enjoys traveling and a daily iced coffee.

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