HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. — While questions remain regarding the return of in-person learning in schools throughout the United States, STR’s annual School Break Report shows only modest shifts in academic calendars for the upcoming year.
The report summarizes vacation break dates in 2020-21 for a sample of U.S. public K-12 school districts, colleges, and universities. As a result of COVID-19 shifts in previously approved calendars, STR implemented extra measures to ensure the accuracy of 2020-21 calendar data with additional information included regarding remote learning scheduling and other specialized data points.
“Aside from the typical Easter and spring-break shifts, we’re not seeing the more dramatic calendar movement that we might have expected,” said Brannan Doyle, research analyst at STR. “One of the few stand-out changes we’ve noticed is college and university calendars cutting fall breaks by more than half compared to last year’s calendars—and an unprecedented uptick in the number of students entering their winter break immediately following the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Another important finding during the calendar collection process was the shift toward remote learning in many colleges and universities between Thanksgiving and Christmas, replacing the normal on-campus final exam schedule with a virtual wrap-up for the fall semester.
With public K-12 school district calendars, several shifts to the upcoming school year were notable. The movement of Christmas from Wednesday in 2019 to Friday in 2020 leaves roughly 20 percent of K-12 students in session until the week of Christmas (and a comparable proportion thus remaining on break later into January compared to the previous year). Also, of note is the significantly higher proportion of students receiving a long weekend for Presidents’ Day in 2021 compared with February 2020.
“Obviously the situation around COVID-19 could throw calendars into a state of flux, but absent any significant change, hoteliers understand that school breaks and family trips are going to make up a large portion of market demand until business travel, conventions, and conferences return. The School Break Report is the source to anticipate that demand.”