Tag: Years

Hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays on Valentine’s Day for making a baby

Let’s travel back in time to February 14 — Valentine’s Day.



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© Courtesy of Hotel Zed/Flytographer


A hip little hotel in British Columbia offered couples the chance to win 18 years of free accommodations if, roughly nine months following their Hotel Zed stay, they had a baby.

Nicole and Alexander Beshinsky and their three-and-half-year-old son are getting ready to welcome a new member to the family.

The Kelowna-based couple took advantage of Hotel Zed’s “Nooner” special this past February 14. Although Hotel Zed, which also has locations in Victoria and Tofino, has offered the four-hour “Nooner” special for the past five years, 2020 was the first year of this particular promotion.



a person sitting on a couch


© Courtesy of Hotel Zed/Flytographer


The deal, which encouraged couples to check in from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for some nookie, followed some post-coital ping-pong in the lounge or perhaps a sexy soak in the outdoor hot tub, was a first for the Beshinskys.

It was also their first time staying at Hotel Zed.

The couple say they don’t even always get a chance to celebrate Valentine’s Day, owing to work conflicts and other challenges. Nicole calls the Nooner package “a great Valentine’s idea for parents because it makes childcare a little easier.”

Indeed, Hotel Zed CEO Mandy Farmer came up with the original Nooner idea when her kids were little, and she was struggling to find quality, child-free time with her husband. The prospect of a romantic tryst on February 14 was more appealing to her than a bouquet of carnations or a box of chocolates, so she took the idea to the board and they ran with it.

As to 2020’s baby-making incentive? Well, it seemed like a fun twist — the holiday is notoriously known for engagements, so why not conceptions?

“I don’t think we’re going to convince someone who’s not thinking about having a baby to have a baby. But if you’re serious about expanding your family, why wouldn’t you try?” Farmer asks. “If you succeed, you’ll win a way to celebrate your baby’s conception for the next 18 years.”

In addition to the 18 years of free stays, the Beshinsky family also lucked out with a free photo shoot so excited about their campaign’s results was the hotel.

Via email, Nicole said: “We had been trying to get pregnant for almost two years, so we thought we would raise stakes with the contest. Apparently all we needed was a little competition!”

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Holiday travel not advised for Christmas, New Year’s, CDC says

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Doctors and nurses working in hospitals across the country are sharing the realities of COVID-19.

USA TODAY

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging travelers not to travel for the upcoming winter holidays, a repeat of its guidance for Thanksgiving travel.

“The best thing for Americans to do in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel,” Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said in a news briefing Wednesday.

“Cases are rising. Hospitalizations are increasing, Deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase,” Walke said.

For those who decide to travel — and there were millions who boarded planes for Thanksgiving despite similar advice — the CDC is now recommending travelers get tested for COVID-19 before and after their trips.

The CDC is recommending a test one to three days before travel and another three to five days after travel, plus reducing nonessential activities for seven days after travel, Wilke said. Those who do not get tested should reduce nonessential activities for 10 days after travel, the agency said.

Testing does not eliminate travel risk, Wilke said, but when combined with reducing nonessential activities and other precautions, it can make “travel safer,” he said. 

Before it stepped up advice on not traveling during the holidays, the CDC had given only general advice on travel during the pandemic: “Travel may increase you chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”

The recommendations come as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the United States, with hospitalizations and deaths increasing. The U.S. has reported more than 13.7 million cases and over 270,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 63.9 million cases and 1.48 million deaths.

Last week, the CDC strongly recommended against Thanksgiving travel. The agency said postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this holiday season.

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That didn’t deter air travelers, who flocked to airports across the country. On Sunday alone, the Transportation Security Administration screened 1,176,091 travelers, a pandemic high. (That is still down 59% from the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2019.)

“Travel volume was high over Thanksgiving,” said Dr. Cindy Friedman, chief of the Travelers’ Health Branch at the CDC.

Even if only a small percentage of those who traveled had asymptomatic infections, that would lead to “hundreds of thousands” of increased infections, Friedman said.

Walke said the CDC expects to see an uptick in cases seven to 10 days after the Thanksgiving travel rush.

Also this week, the CDC advised against all travel to Mexico. Mexico has become a popular pandemic vacation spot because it does not have strict COVID-19 entry requirements, such as a negative test or quarantine. The CDC’s alert level for Mexico is its highest, level 4. 

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Joe Biden Has Promised to End Trump’s Muslim and African ‘Travel Ban’. But Its Legacy Will Be Felt for Years

Afnan Salem’s father, a Somali citizen living in Malaysia, has been waiting three years for United States immigration authorities to allow him to come to Ohio to live with his family. But Trump’s severe travel restrictions on many visas for those with citizenship from more than a dozen predominantly African and Muslim-majority countries, including Somalia, means he is, at least temporarily, barred from entry.



a group of people posing for the camera: Demonstrators protest President Donald Trump's executive immigration ban at O'Hare International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.


© Joshua Lott—AFP via Getty Images
Demonstrators protest President Donald Trump’s executive immigration ban at O’Hare International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Under previous Administrations, Salem’s father would likely have been able to come to the U.S. without complications: Salem’s brother is a U.S. citizen and has filed for a visa on their father’s behalf. Trump’s travel ban—often referred to as the Muslim and African ban—changed that calculus, making it much more difficult, and often impossible, for family members from certain predominately Muslim and African countries to gain entry to the U.S.

Salem, a Somali-American 22-year-old student at Ohio State University, says the stringent restrictions send a message to her and those like her that Africans and Muslims are not welcome in the U.S, that “you don’t have the right to be reunited with your family because of your faith or where you come from.”

President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021, has promised to revoke the Trump-era travel ban on his first day in office—a commitment that families like Salem’s are desperately hoping he follows through on.

Read more: Biden Has Promised to Undo Trump’s Immigration Policies. How Much Is He Really Likely to Reform?

Even before President Donald Trump issued his first executive order attempting to establish a ban just about a week after his inauguration, he had called on the campaign trail for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” and falsely declared that “Islam hates us.” It was in this context that Trump began issuing executive orders to keep many Muslims from entering the U.S. (The first was introduced January 2017.) The first few early iterations of a travel ban were struck down by lower courts, but the Supreme Court upheld a recent version in 2018.

The impact of the travel restrictions has been far-reaching. Between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2019 there was a decrease of 79% in visa issued to Iranians, 74% for Somalians and 66% for Yemenis, according to The Bridge Initiative, a research project based in Georgetown University that focuses on Islamophobia. In Jan. 2019, the libertarian Cato Institute reported that the new restrictions had already prevented more than 15,000 spouses and adopted children of U.S. citizens from joining their spouses or parents in the U.S. In Michigan, a Yemeni-American father and U.S. citizen Mahmood Salem committed suicide after his wife and two of his five children in Djibouti were denied visas under Trump’s travel ban to join him in the U.S., NBC reported.

“Each time the Muslim ban was reintroduced, it carried

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Cyber Monday travel deals to cure next year’s wanderlust

One of the best weeks for finding steep discounts and brand loyalty incentives is upon us, and this shopping season may be especially appealing for Seattle travelers.

Though travel is different this year as the pandemic has a hold on our collective lives, daydreaming and planning for better days ahead has avid travelers seeking out the best deals for the new year.

When Cyber Monday arrives this year, don’t get caught in a last-minute panic searching for deals. Scroll down to see some of the best discounted travel packages and deals. Then bookmark your favorites and boost your spirits with these great deals for future travels.

Costa Rica: Tierra Magnifica Luxury Resort


Newly-expanded Tierra Magnifica in Nosara, Costa Rica, is offering an appealing Cyber Monday deal with 25% savings in addition to resort perks. The adults-only boutique property is ideal for surf getaways and romantic retreats equally with a relaxing vibe and panoramic ocean views. Follow nature trails or soul search on a meditation deck, then dip down to the beach for a refreshing splash.

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, book direct to receive half-price spa treatments during a discounted stay, available with booking code CYBER2020. This deal applies for travel dates between January 3 through the end of April 2021.

Jackson Hole, WY: Snow King Mountain

Ready to hit the slopes? Get ready to save on a fun family getaway to Snow King Resort, home to world-class downhill skiing, snowmobiling and more outdoor adventure. The deal runs exclusively between November 23-30 this year, offering up to 40% off lodging.

In addition to its location at the base of Snow King Mountain, Snow King Resort is in close proximity to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, making this an outdoor adventurists dream destination. Travel dates for this Cyber Monday deal are valid mid-December through the end of May 2021. If visiting this winter, guests will see the resort light up for the holiday season with a variety of family events taking place like scenic sleigh rides and Santa sightings.

Puerto Vallarta: Casa Kimberly Hotel

Travelers are already returning to Mexico, so visitors should already know what to expect as Puerto Vallarta reopens to guests. This sale season, take advantage of a rare deal to stay at Casa Kimberly, famously known as Elizabeth Taylor’s abode when courting Richard Burton. This former home has blossomed into a boutique hotel in the heart of romantic downtown Puerto Vallarta. Luxury suites, a pool, in-demand restaurant and soothing spa attract guests from around the world.

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Casa Kimberly is offering a 50% discount on suite bookings for stays between December 2020 through the end of May 2021. Use offer code CYBERCK to reserve at this incredible rate.

Saint Lucia: Traveler’s Choice

Why book one great deal when so many great options are available for a decadent Saint Lucia getaway? The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority is calling upon visitors to explore and soak in the sunshine with not one,

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Cyber Monday travel deals to cure next year’s wanderlust

One of the best weeks for finding steep discounts and brand loyalty incentives is upon us, and this shopping season may be especially appealing for Seattle travelers.

Though travel is different this year as the pandemic has a hold on our collective lives, daydreaming and planning for better days ahead has avid travelers seeking out the best deals for the new year.

When Cyber Monday arrives this year, don’t get caught in a last-minute panic searching for deals. Scroll down to see some of the best discounted travel packages and deals. Then bookmark your favorites and boost your spirits with these great deals for future travels.

Costa Rica: Tierra Magnifica Luxury Resort

Newly-expanded Tierra Magnifica in Nosara, Costa Rica, is offering an appealing Cyber Monday deal with 25% savings in addition to resort perks. The adults-only boutique property is ideal for surf getaways and romantic retreats equally with a relaxing vibe and panoramic ocean views. Follow nature trails or soul search on a meditation deck, then dip down to the beach for a refreshing splash.

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, book direct to receive half-price spa treatments during a discounted stay, available with booking code CYBER2020. This deal applies for travel dates between January 3 through the end of April 2021.

Jackson Hole, WY: Snow King Mountain

Ready to hit the slopes? Get ready to save on a fun family getaway to Snow King Resort, home to world-class downhill skiing, snowmobiling and more outdoor adventure. The deal runs exclusively between November 23-30 this year, offering up to 40% off lodging.

In addition to its location at the base of Snow King Mountain, Snow King Resort is in close proximity to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, making this an outdoor adventurists dream destination. Travel dates for this Cyber Monday deal are valid mid-December through the end of May 2021. If visiting this winter, guests will see the resort light up for the holiday season with a variety of family events taking place like scenic sleigh rides and Santa sightings.

Puerto Vallarta: Casa Kimberly Hotel

Travelers are already returning to Mexico, so visitors should already know what to expect as Puerto Vallarta reopens to guests. This sale season, take advantage of a rare deal to stay at Casa Kimberly, famously known as Elizabeth Taylor’s abode when courting Richard Burton. This former home has blossomed into a boutique hotel in the heart of romantic downtown Puerto Vallarta. Luxury suites, a pool, in-demand restaurant and soothing spa attract guests from around the world.

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Casa Kimberly is offering a 50% discount on suite bookings for stays between December 2020 through the end of May 2021. Use offer code CYBERCK to reserve at this incredible rate.

Saint Lucia: Traveler’s Choice

Why

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Northfield mourns burned hotel that reached back 143 years

A little piece of Barb Budd’s family history, spanning four generations in Northfield, Minn., went up in flames this month.

Budd’s great-grandmother worked as a housekeeper in the late 1870s at the Archer House, a 143-year-old inn that was extensively damaged Nov. 12 after a kitchen fire spread through the structure. It’s closed at least through 2021 as owners determine if anything can be saved.

“It’s as devastating for me as for any of us,” said Budd, who’s lived in Northfield for all of her 64 years. “It’s such a tragedy, just so sad to see a beautiful, iconic and long-lived building go up like this — or come down for new development.”

Budd cherishes a brief about her great-grandparents’ wedding in the Northfield News on Nov. 29, 1879:

T.H. Budd, the west side barber, was married in Hastings on Tuesday, to Miss Nellie McGuire, an accomplished maid at the Archer House, this city. The happy pair returned to Northfield Tuesday night.

The T.H. should have read H.T., as in 21-year-old Henry Talford Budd, who in 1938 would be declared the “Oldest Active Barber in the U.S.A.” by Ripley’s Believe It or Not after working 68 years in the same Northfield shop.

Like Henry, Nellie was the child of Irish émigrés, arriving in Hastings with her large family in the 1850s. James Archer, the inn’s founder, had provided pioneer lodging on the stagecoach road near Hastings, and Jim McGuire of Minneapolis, a descendant of Nellie’s, assumes Archer brought her to Northfield when he opened the Archer House in 1877.

“I suspect Ellen was one of the original staff at the hotel, but I can’t prove it,” McGuire said. He notes the 1879 wedding blurb calls her an “accomplished maid” at a time when the Archer House was only two years old.

The 1880 federal census lists Nellie’s occupation as “Keeping house,” apparently her own home, meaning she no longer worked as a maid at the inn. Henry and Nellie had six children, including Barb Budd’s grandfather.

It’s those connections that can make a burned-out inn more than charred wreckage.

“It really was the heart of the community,” said Northfield historian Susan Hvistendahl, who wrote about the inn’s long history in 2011 (tinyurl.com/ArcherHouse).

One of the hotel’s owners, Brett Reese of Rebound Hospitality, told local radio station KYMN the day after the fire: “It’s very sad. We’re in mourning.” His thoughts were echoed by the president of the Northfield Chamber of Commerce, Lisa Peterson, who told the Star Tribune: “It feels like a death. It’s hard to think of it not being there.”

Northfield Fire Chief Gerry Franek told the Northfield News that the fire spread from a kitchen smoker through the walls, areas designed for pipes and cables, and hidden spots that fire crews couldn’t reach.

The hotel originally cost $13,000 to build, nearly $260,000 in today’s dollars. It opened with 50 rooms and a lavish gala on Aug. 23, 1877, only a year after citizens drove the James-Younger gang

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Coronavirus vaccines may help travel recover, but it may take years to fully rebound, experts say

  • Forty-nine percent of travelers would be willing to travel after a proven Covid vaccine is released, a recent study found.
  • Many travel industry insiders urge caution but do think a rebound could be in sight should mass vaccination prove effective.
  • While personal practices like mask wearing and social distancing may fade with time, other industry wide changes introduced during the pandemic will likely prove durable.



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© Provided by CNBC


As news of several effective Covid-19 vaccines offers some light at the end of the tunnel that is 2020, will a beleaguered travel and tourism industry — one of the hardest hit by the pandemic — soon begin to recover?

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Possibly, say sources, but they caution that travel may take years to fully rebound and, no matter the timing, will likely look different than it did pre-pandemic.

“The news of a potential vaccine does hold promise for travel in 2021,” said Julie Hall, spokeswoman for AAA. “But … travelers need to be focused on knowing the risks of traveling and exposure in the here and now.”

Brian O’Connell, analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com, takes an even more measured stance. “I’m just not bullish on travel for the first half of 2021 – even if a vaccine is mass produced in that timeframe,” he said. “Caution is the watchword, as the vaccine will take months to be fully distributed in the U.S. and abroad.”

Kayak.com CEO Steve Hafner said he thinks “people are taking more a wait-and-see approach … until one of these vaccines gets out there.”

More from Personal Finance:

Holiday trip reservations lag but last-minute bookings might help

Many would use stimulus for vacations but experts urge caution

Affluent travelers eager to get back to vacation business

However, the online travel agency did see a spike in searches — if not purchases — right after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced 95% efficacy for its Covid vaccine on Nov. 10. The next day, searches were up 27% compared to the week prior, he said, but settled into a “more modest” 6% weekly growth rate in the days that followed.

Still, Hafner said the increased searches are good sign.

“I’m very optimistic that once these vaccines get distributed, people’s perceptions around travel are going to change toward the positive,” he added.

“I’m hopeful it comes by the second quarter [of 2021], knock on wood,” Hafner said, of a rebound in travel. “If we’re really lucky, we’ll see it in the first quarter.”

A survey of 4,300 customers earlier this year by travel insurer Allianz found that 49% would travel again given a proven vaccine. Meanwhile, 42% said the go-ahead from public health officials would suffice.

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“[The] promise of a highly effective vaccine is good news for the tremendous pent-up demand for travel, and should provide another reason for consumers to feel more confident booking trips for 2021,” said Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications at Allianz. He said he expected that luxury and experiential trips will be

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Snooki style through the years. the ‘Jersey Shore’ way


Sparkle glasses and a cropped back jacket were the way to go  for a press confernce in Italy in 2011.



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A grungy look against a red brick wall.



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A plunging neckline maxi dress with a throw over.



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Ahoy, a pirate look with husband and son Lorenzo.



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Sun glasses and a leopard headband when you’re expecting.



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A rainbow throw-over at Logo’s third annual “Trailblazer Honors” at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.



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Satin freedom with a jacket on the dancefloor.



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Sunglasses and Crocodilly at Jenk’s Club in 2018.



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After years of planning, new 304-room downtown Tacoma hotel is open for business

Wednesday morning marked a landmark launch in downtown Tacoma with the opening of the new Marriott Tacoma Downtown hotel next to the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

“We’re officially open,” said Ben Osgood, general manager of the hotel. “We’ve signed all the documents and the doors are open.”

Osgood spoke to The News Tribune not long after the official 9 a.m. opening.

There was no pomp and circumstance with a large crowd of officials to mark the start, given that Pierce County is now awash in its third surge of COVID-19 cases in the pandemic.

“It’s a little quiet, to say the least,” Osgood said. “But …. we are receiving reservations as we speak.”

For tourism officials, that’s good news.

“This is a big day for Pierce County, and we’re excited to officially welcome Marriott Tacoma Downtown into the Tacoma hotel community,” said Dean Burke, president and CEO of Travel Tacoma – Mt. Rainier Tourism and Sports, via email Wednesday.

Adapting to change

The hotel, with 22 floors and 304 guest rooms, has been a goal for the city since the convention center’s completion in 2004.

The site’s groundbreaking on Aug. 8, 2017, was arranged with the help of a feng shui expert, focused on every celebratory detail down to the date itself to instill good luck on the project.

Fast forward to 2020: Attention to detail now is focused on providing safe service in a pandemic.

Opening plans called for what Osgood describes as a “big pivot” following Gov. Jay Inslee’s new orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Really, the biggest change that we had to pivot on just in the last three, four days is we are unfortunately unable to open our restaurant,” Osgood said.

Staff had trained for weeks planning for a thriving indoor dining scene.

Instead, guests now can experience a revamped room service with quick turnaround time.

“Our interim dining program … it’s not the traditional room service that you would expect where you get to your room and, an hour and a half after you order, your food shows up on the big metal plate (with) all the fancy dinnerware,” Osgood said.

“This is more on demand, a la carte experience that will be delivered to your room or available for grab and go in the lobby within 15 minutes of your order. So it’s hot and fresh. It competes with your fast casual restaurants. Everything’s in compostable packaging. It’s a really good program, and it keeps it actually very affordable for the guest.”

Other amenities for now are either scaled down or temporarily off-limits, such as the pool, spa and fitness center.

Cleaning, air filtration

Cleaning, another big issue top of mind with guests trying to avoid COVID-19, follows a pandemic protocol.

“Basically, anything that can’t be sanitized in the guest room is removed.,” Osgood said, “and available by request only. We’re going pretty much paperless. So QR codes, compendiums on the TV.”

On-screen “compendiums” are best described as a digital concierge,

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Lee board to vote on next year’s calendar, 7-week summer break planned

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Kindergarten students and their family members were able to attend Caloosa Elementary in Cape Coral, Thursday, August 27, 2020, to a meet-the-teacher open house. The event was meant to help get the youngest learners ready for their first day of school.

Fort Myers News-Press

Is it too soon to start talking about summer vacation? Didn’t think so.

Students in Lee County are looking at about seven weeks of summer vacation if the school board signs off on the proposed 2021-22 school year calendar during its meeting Tuesday.

This year, school ends on June 17, with the first day of school in 2022 proposed for Aug. 10. Teachers would report a week earlier, giving them a six-week summer break.

The calendar is created by a committee of parents, community members, teachers, support staff and principals who figure out how holidays, breaks and state-mandated instructional hours fit into Lee County’s 180-day public school year.

More: Lee school board approves Aug. 31 as new start date

Lee County schools (Photo: news-press.com)

There are three mini-vacations proposed in the school calendar: Thanksgiving, winter and spring break.

  • Thanksgiving break will be Nov. 22-26. School will resume Nov. 29.
     
  • Winter break will be Dec. 20-Dec. 31. School will resume Jan. 3, 2022, but the calendar says the first week back in school will be used as an exam week for the end of the first semester of school.
     
  • Spring break is set for March 21-25, 2022, with school resuming March 28.

A four-day weekend for Easter is also planned, with schools closed April 15-18, 2022.

Four holidays will be wrapped into three-day weekends: Labor Day (Sept. 6), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 17), President’s Day (Feb. 21) and Memorial Day (May 30).

Schools will also be closed for Yom Kippur on Sept. 16, which is a Thursday.

Four professional duty days are on the calendar. These are days when teachers clock in-service hours, while kids stay home. The dates are Oct. 15, Jan. 11, March 18 and June 3.

Three hurricane makeup days are planned in the calendar:

  • Nov. 11 (Veterans Day)
  • Jan. 10 (after the first semester exam week ends)
  • Feb. 18 (the Friday before the President’s Day holiday). 

These dates serve as place-holders in the calendar in cases of a weather-related closure, like those due to hurricanes or tropical storms, that require schools to be closed.

Historically, the district will use the dates closest to the storm day to fill in any missed hours from school. If schools aren’t cancelled due to storms, the students and employees get the day off.

It should be noted that the exam week after winter break is immediately followed with two possible days off for students, thanks to Jan. 10 being established as a hurricane makeup day and Jan.11 listed as a teacher-training day.

The Feb. 18 hurricane day falls on a Friday, too. If the day is unused, it would make for a four-day weekend for staff and students because the following Monday is

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