Secondary schools to close for Olympics 

Whistler elementary schools will have one-week spring break in February 2010

Secondary schools in the Sea to Sky area will be closed during the 2010 Olympics.

Following community surveys and considerable debate, the board of School District No. 48 this week approved parameters for development of local school calendars for 2009-2010. Those parameters include:

• Spring break for all schools will be moved from March 8-12 to Feb. 22-26, the second week of the Olympics.

• Pemberton, Don Ross and Howe Sound secondary schools will be closed for an additional week prior to spring break, Feb. 15-19.

• Whistler Secondary School will be closed for two weeks prior to spring break and an additional two days after spring break, resulting in school closure from Feb. 8 to March 2.

• Whistler elementary schools will be closed only for spring break, Feb. 22-26.

The original proposal put forward by the school board in September was to close the two Whistler elementary schools for a total of two weeks: Feb. 15-19 and then for spring break. That proposal was opposed by many parents, the District Parent Advisory Committee, Whistler council and VANOC.

The primary concern was who would look after the elementary students if the schools were closed for two weeks. Many parents will be working during the Olympics and there are not enough childcare spaces available to absorb the students from two elementary schools.

A press release on the School District 48 website stated: “Individual schools will be required to develop their local school calendars incorporating these parameters approved by the Board. Specific local school calendars for 2009/10 must be approved by the Board of Education prior to May 31, 2009 but the Board wishes to give early indications to parents, students, staff and community members regarding the operation of schools during the Olympic period. The Board is hopeful that these parameters will provide sufficient information to everyone at this time.”

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