Should Saddleback take the full week of Thanksgiving off?

Dylan Luden | Lariat

Thanksgiving week is officially here. Turkeys are cooked, football is being played across televisions in homes and families are coming together to give thanks to what they have. For Saddleback students however, they’ll have to wait until Wednesday after classes to be officially on Thanksgiving break.

Many Saddleback students are upset about not having the entire week off because they have to travel to be with their families this time of year. These students are asking, why doesn’t Saddleback give the entire Thanksgiving week off?

The Southern Orange County Community College District, which consists of Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College, doesn’t give the full week of Thanksgiving off. Only the actual holiday itself and Black Friday are given off by the district.

“Not having the full week off does affect my plans a bit because I won’t have a lot of time to spend with my family,” Saddleback student Caden Eidson said. “I have to go down to San Diego Wednesday afternoon after class and there will be a lot of traffic. Having that weekend off of homework is nice, but I have to start making my way back up to Saddleback that Sunday.”

According to Dr. Chris McDonald, the chair of the calendar planning committee, as well as the vice chancellor of educational and technology services for the district, a week of school at the minimum is considered three days. If the district took that Wednesday off, they would have to take the entire week off.

“We could take Thanksgiving week off, but we would have to push it back closer to Christmas which often doesn’t work out,” McDonald said.  “Or, we would have to either cut into the beginning or end of summer.” 

The district also has to fit 18 weeks of academic learning into their schedule, as well as days off for holidays or staff development days. The planning committee meets in the fall and the next year’s school schedule is finalized in the spring. 

Some students, like Eidson, are upset they don’t have the full week off to spend the most amount of time that they possibly could with their families and they should be. According to AP News, the two busiest days to travel during Thanksgiving week are the Wednesday before and the Sunday after. 

For traveling students trying to beat the traffic, they would have to leave before Wednesday meaning they would miss class time if they are in person. If they’re also trying to avoid traffic on the way back, they would need to leave before Sunday.

If the district gives the full week off, students would be able to travel earlier and won’t have to worry about missing classes and making up for the work they missed during the week. However, some students don’t want an added week that cuts into their summer.

“I understand not having the full week off for Thanksgiving because we have around a full month off winter break,” student Josiah Brown said. “I’m fine with having school on Wednesday before Thanksgiving because I don’t want another week of school added on at the end of the year.”

It’s a tough and ultimately difficult decision to make for the calendar committee, but the students and staff at Saddleback College deserve to have the full week off so that they can spend the most time they can with their families.

It would also benefit the student’s mental health and energy to have the full week off. With finals coming up starting on Dec. 14, students can recharge and come back to school focused and ready for their final exams.