Schools in Halifax Regional Municipality will close for two weeks in February 2011 in support of the Halifax 2011 Canada Winter Games. The province, today, Nov. 25, announced changes to the 2010-11 public school calendar that will have the spring break move to February, followed by a one week Canada Games break for students and staff in Halifax Regional School Board and the metro-area schools of the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP). Schools will close from Feb. 14 to Feb. 25, inclusive. Moving the spring break to February and closing schools for an additional week follows the practice for previous winter games. The last three provinces and territories to host the games — New Brunswick in 2003, Yukon in 2007 and Newfoundland and Labrador in 1999 — moved March break and closed schools in the host region to accommodate the games. The Halifax Canada Games Society will use two Halifax schools as venues — Citadel High and Sackville High — and relying on volunteer support from more than 1,000 students, who will act as minor officials throughout the Games. “This move demonstrates continued support for the Canada Games,” said Chris Morrissey, Games CEO. “Through activities such as our torch relay and mascot program, we’ll touch communities across the province. This school calendar change will allow many students to really have an impact on the Games.” To ensure students in HRM do not lose valuable class time, the school year will start early and end late in 2010-11, running from Sept. 1 to June 30. Christmas break will also be shortened, and one teacher professional development day rescheduled. Students and staff outside HRM will share the same Sept. 1-June 30 calendar, but will enjoy the traditional March Break, as well as a longer Christmas holiday to compensate for the longer school year. Schools outside metro will remain open as usual through February 2011. Keeping the major adjustments in the school calendar confined to HRM schools minimizes disruption to students and staff elsewhere in the province, while ensuring Games organizers have access to the student volunteer support and school facilities they need to host a successful event. It will be the first time in 24 years that the province has hosted a Canada Games. Cape Breton was home to the Winter Games in 1987. The 2011 Canada Winter Games will be the largest multi-sport event in Halifax’s history and the city’s first Canada Winter Games. More than 2,700 athletes will compete in over 20 sports, attracting thousands of visitors, VIPs, officials and media. Beyond the impact on the sporting community, the Games are expected to create about $80 million in economic spinoffs for the local economy. Volunteers can apply online for Games-time roles starting the end of January 2010. Volunteers must be age 14 and older, to volunteer. Youth volunteers between the ages of 14 and 18 will require a parent or guardian’s consent to volunteer. More information on volunteering and minor officials can be found at www.canadagames2011.ca/volunteer . Key dates for the 2010-11 School Calendar will follow this release.