College to extend employees’ holiday break for second year in a row

The extension will serve to celebrate staff who have worked during the pandemic.

by Ella Marin | 10/19/21 5:00am

by Paula Kutschera / The Dartmouth Staff

On Oct. 5, College President Phil Hanlon sent an email to campus employees announcing that Dartmouth staff and faculty’s holiday break this year will extend from Dec. 20 through Dec. 31., a week longer than the typical break of Dec. 27 to Dec. 31. Both part-time and full-time Dartmouth employees will be paid at their normal base rate during this period, according to the College’s human resources website. 

In an interview with The Dartmouth, Hanlon said that the extra week is intended to be “a small way of saying thanks for all [employees] do for Dartmouth,” Hanlon said in an interview with The Dartmouth. Additionally, all staff and faculty will receive an additional personal day that they can redeem anytime between now and June 30 — the end of the 2021-22 academic year —  according to interim Provost David Kotz.

Before the start of fall term, he said, Hanlon met with his senior leadership team to discuss the possibility of extending the break. 

“COVID continues to pose unique and enduring challenges to the entire community,” Hanlon said. “We know people are stressed out and exhausted. We were able to extend the break last year without disruption to campus operations, and we thought we could do it again this year.” 

Not all staff members will be off during the extended break, Kotz noted. Some undergraduates will reside on campus during holiday break, and certain staff will be on campus to accommodate students’ needs. 

However, Kotz added that most faculty and staff working during winterim are not working directly to support students. According to Kotz, these employees are doing “all the … things that go on in a big business,” like hiring personnel, managing college finances and preparing for winter term. 

“Some business won’t get done that would normally have been done, but we figure we can manage,” Kotz said. “People will get it done beforehand or afterward.”

Certain staff — such as Safety and Security officers — will not be able to take advantage of the extended holiday break. According to Safety and Security patrol officer Michael Burns, the break is postponed to a later date for Safety and Security employees. 

“[Safety and Security doesn’t] take the full week off… because we are a 24-hour department, someone has to be on campus,” Burns said. “We don’t get the luxury of just having that full week off.”

Similar to Safety and Security employees, limited Dartmouth Dining Services staff will also work during the break. DDS director Jon Plodzik wrote in an email statement to The Dartmouth that staff who work during the holidays will be offered a break later in the winter term. 

“The gesture for additional days off by the College is a wonderful Holiday gift for all of us and one that is greatly appreciated by everyone,” Plodzik wrote. 

Many College employees have expressed gratitude for the extension, especially considering the pandemic’s toll on mental health.

“It’s going to be nice to have some time just to rest and recover because things are only really starting to get back to normal now,” library staff member Katharine Bepler said. “I’m going to spend some extra time on self-care.”

Hanlon noted that the College has not reached a decision on whether to extend next year’s holiday break.

“I’d just like to thank students, faculty and staff for their perseverance over the last year,” he said. “The Dartmouth community has risen to the occasion. I’m not surprised, but I am so proud.”

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