(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- Students and staff in the St. Joseph School District will now have the entire week of Thanksgiving off.
During a special board meeting Wednesday afternoon the Board of Education voted 6-1 to close school November 22-23, the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
Board president Tami Pasley said she made the recommendation after going to a state education meeting last week and talking with other educators. She said the proposal to extend the Thanksgiving vacation is being considered and enacted in other districts.
Pasley said it's been a tough last 18 months in the classrooms while trying to work through the pandemic and that the extra break is needed.
"If you want to call it exhaustion, just wellness," Pasley said. "I emphasized that it's not just for our staff but for our students because I'm in a school building every day and I can tell you that the high school students I teach are just as exhausted as our staff is."
Pasley said that state and federal regulations prevent the board from giving monetary bonuses to staff to thank them for their work. However, because the district's calendar includes 11 extra days of class than is required to account for snow days and other emergencies, Pasley said they could legally pull the time from that and stay above minimum state requirements for student time in classrooms.
Ken Reeder was the lone board member to vote against the proposal. He said the move takes away more than 147,000 hours of classroom instruction time, something he said the district can ill afford at this time because of low student test scores and the amount of time they've already been out of class because of quarantining and other issues related to the pandemic.