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Portland Parents React to Shortened Winter Break Due to Teacher Strike

In the wake of the Portland Public Schools (PPS) district and the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) reaching a tentative deal to end a nearly month-long strike, PPS students are now facing a significant alteration in their academic calendar. The strike's resolution requires students to make up 11 missed school days, beginning with what was originally scheduled as their winter break, December 18 through 22.

Shane Kennedy, a PPS parent, expressed relief that the strike has concluded. "During the strike, I was frustrated, but now I'm relieved it's over and we can move forward," Kennedy shared. He recounted the moment he shared the news with his fourth-grade son, Ian, who was visibly excited to return to school.

However, the shortened winter break is not without its challenges. Eric Happel, a father of two high school students, questions the necessity of the strike and its repercussions. "It impacts us personally. We've had to adjust our plans significantly, including canceling a planned family trip," Happel stated, emphasizing the personal and educational costs of the strike.

The change also affects parents like Stephanie Needham, a single mother of two, who now faces the task of readjusting her children to a disrupted school routine. "I anticipate exhaustion and meltdowns as they readjust to their new schedule," Needham expressed.

The altered calendar extends beyond just the winter break. Other makeup days are tentatively set for January 26, February 19, April 8, and June 12-14, days initially designated as holidays. Additionally, discussions regarding further makeup days for inclement weather are scheduled for no later than April 30 of the following year.

This situation highlights the complexities of balancing educational needs with the personal lives of students and their families. As the PPS community navigates this new normal, the impact of the strike continues to be a topic of discussion and adjustment for many.

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