Fairfield 3rd-grader pens letter asking officials for longer winter break
FAIRFIELD — Allegra Early, a third-grader at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, thinks the winter break in February is too short.
She’d like a break where she can spend time with her family and friends.
So, she got her pencil and paper and wrote a letter to both Superintendent of Schools Toni Jones and First Selectman Mike Tetreau.
“I am writing you concerning our town’s winter vacation,” the letter begins, written on lined paper. “It is only two days instead of five days. I am a dedicated skier and student. Because I work so hard at school it would be nice to have a longer break to ski.”
Fairfield schools — like Bridgeport and Norwalk — have Friday and Monday off during President’s Day weekend. Other school districts like New Canaan, Darien and Westport take off the entire week after President’s Day for winter break.
“It seems like all my friends in other towns have a week long vacation. I would like to see them and play,” Allegra added. “It would be so nice to spend the whole week with my family.”
Jones confirmed she received Allegra’s letter Feb. 25 and had penned a response.
“It’s been several years since Fairfield had a winter break,” Jones said, when asked about the schools’ calendar. “Students are dismissed early the Thursday before President’s Day weekend and staff have professional learning that same afternoon.”
Sharon Early, Allegra’s mother, said her daughter wrote the letter in an effort to foster conversation about Fairfield’s days off in mid-February.
“It’s tough for my husband taking a day from one week and another from the next week,” Early said. “Whether we could get a Monday and Tuesday off or the full week. ... We just want to open up the discussion.”
Jones explained private schools — like St. Thomas Aquinas — rely on public school buses for transportation, hence why they must follow their calendar, including delays or snow days.
“From my understanding, it was an old tradition which has been changed in many Fairfield County school districts in order to increase instructional time in February and also end the year a little quicker,” Jones added.
Tetreau also received Allegra’s letter and he thanked her for reaching out to town officials.
“It’s important that we get back and respond (to Allegra),” Tetreau said. “It’s good to hear from the younger members of our community and we encourage them to give us feedback.”
Jones noted having fewer days off in February also allowed for the second half of the school year to end sooner during the summer.
“Every district does what they believe is best for their community,” Jones said.