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Why the longer breaks this year?

In years past, Thanksgiving Break has been Thursday through Sunday but this year students can look forward to having the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off as well.

Ericka Peterson, a Concordia registrar and scheduler, thinks many students will benefit from the extra day, which will allow them more travel time.

“The three day Thanksgiving Break was a conscious decision because students were cutting class and leaving early because they wanted to get home safely,” Peterson said.

“Student safety is definitely a concern. You can never guarantee the weather around here.”

Sophomore Jade Haseltine said, she noticed in her freshman year that over half of the people in her classes were gone the day before break.

“The extra day is nice for people who live farther away to have that day for travel,” Haseltine said.

Haseltine, who lives about four hours away supports the extra day: more time with family and more time to traverse potentially bad weather.

Peterson said another reason for this change was simply because there was room for the extra day to be added.

Concordia requires a certain number of class days for students and professors to meet; breaks are determined by this quota. Each semester, Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes must meet for a minimum of 42 sessions. Tuesday, Thursday classes must meet for at least 28 sessions.

When there are extra days to schedule, breaks can be longer. It all depends on what dates the breaks fall on each year.

Along with this, classes need to be held for a certain number of weeks as well. When Peterson lays out the year’s schedule, she must consider weeks consisting of less than 5 days. Weeks of even 2 class days, such as the first week of the year, still count as full weeks.

“I just have to play with the numbers and figure out how to lay the schedule out,” Peterson said.

This year, because of the extra days in the schedule, students were also able to enjoy an extra day of Fall break as well. Last year, there was a study day at the end of Fall semester for the same reason and 2 years ago Christmas break was significantly longer than usual. Each year looks a little different.

Likewise, Concordia tries to remain open on certain dates such as MEA and NDEA, a time for prospective students to see Cobbers in action.“I think it’s smart of them to schedule breaks different so high school students don’t have to take off school in order to get a better feel for campus and what it is like when people are there,” Haseltine said.

Each year’s schedule must appease Concordia’s board of administrators, which has the final say.

Generally, the same patterns are followed for breaks. School always starts the Thursday before Labor Day and ends before the first Sunday of May.

As of now calendars are approved through the 2016-2017 year. Unless changes to the academic calendar occur, these calendars will stay in effect. Usually, Concordia plans calendars three years in advance.

Calendar change could also lead to a longer fall break.

“There are conversations about adding a longer break in the fall like in the spring,” Peterson said. “Potentially, the calendar could look different in the future but this idea is still just being discussed,” Peterson said.

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