Why do we have midwinter break?
March 22, 2020
Unlike summer, winter, and spring break, midwinter break isn’t recognized across all school districts. In Washington State alone, only 26 percent of school districts have a full week off in February.
The spottiness of the break across different districts is mostly due to its recency; midwinter break first came into use in the 1970s because of an energy crisis. To save money on gas for buses and heat for schools, some schools turned to a break in February. Over time, the four or five-day weekends around President’s Day transformed into a full week off, giving teachers an extra break in the middle of the longest stretch of school.
At the same time, schools gained the added benefit of disrupting illnesses spreading during the cold winter months. While the original need for a February break has long since passed, the break itself has continued.