Parents, teachers weigh in on spring break plans


COLUMBIA – Spring break is just a few weeks away for many students, and so is the one year anniversary of virtual learning.

While parents may be used to traveling to warm locations for their kids’ annual week-long time off school, the CDC is still discouraging travel due to the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus.

One parent and teacher at Helias Catholic High School said his family is  celebrating the vacation, and Easter holiday, at home in Jefferson City.

“If everything keeps trending the right direction, we might be able to see a little bit of family,” Bell said. “If not, if we are at home, then we’re just going to enjoy ourselves here. Probably a little bit of an Easter egg hunt here with a close group of friends.”

Bell is a parent to two children at St. Peter’s Interparish School and history teacher, football and basketball coach at Helias. He said he appreciates the safety measures that both schools are taking to keep everyone safe.

“I think, for the most part, our kids have tried to do a good job of keeping their mask on, washing their hands and doing all that. I think that’s a big testament. It’s also similar to what St. Peters is doing to keep my kids safe.”

Another teacher and parent said although her family plans to travel for spring break, they are taking every precaution necessary.

CPS parent and teacher aid Vicky Briceno said her family needs a break, but in the safest way possible.

“We are being super cautious, we realize the risks of traveling,” she said. “We have a condo about four hours from here that we rented that has its own kitchen, own living room and all that. Our plan is to just go stay in our condo and do some activities outside. We’ll try to be aware of our surroundings, we are planning to mask up.”

According to the district calendar, CPS is scheduled to have its spring break from March 29 through April 2.

This time last year, parents and teachers were first introduced to a virtual learning format as the pandemic hit the U.S. and placed the nation in quarantine.

“We, as a family, haven’t done anything since the beginning,” Briceno said. “That was March last year. We haven’t left, we haven’t gone out of town.”

CPS administration has not spoken out to students and families regarding travel plans during the week-long vacation.

However, CPS Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said she thinks the decrease in reported cases and increase in vaccine availability are promising.

“The numbers are what the numbers are,” she said. “The combination of those two things looks very promising, but returning to full in-person learning isn’t up to me, it isn’t up to the parents, its up to the Board of Education.”

The school board will meet Monday night to discuss returning to in-person learning five days a week.