Westfield school head details storm impact

WESTFIELD – The storm-related cancellations to date will not require rescheduling of the school calendar, at least not yet.
Superintendent Suzanne Scallion told the School Committee Monday night that the scheduled end of the school year is being pushed back from Tuesday, June 19, 2012, to Wednesday, June 20, to account for the six days already lost to weather cancellations. The original schedule provided for five emergency days, a number already exceeded this year because of weather events.
Those cancellations include Monday, Aug. 29, the scheduled opening of schools within the district, due to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene, and the week of Oct. 31 through Nov. 4, due to the snow storm that caused widespread power outages in the city and throughout the northeast.
“We are fortunate we started before Labor Day,” Scallion said. “As of today, the closing date will be June 20. Right now we have two snow days. If we have two snow days, that would put us to Friday, June 22.”
Scallion said that she does not plan to add more days at the end of the year to make up any more time lost to weather events. Nor does she plan, at this time, to open schools during the February 20 – 24 mid-winter recess vacation week, nor the spring recess slated for April 16-20.
“If we have more than that number of snow days, I will look at some other options,” Scallion said, “options not to cut the vacations.”
The timing of weather cancellations is a factor because state law requires the school year calendar be 180 days. However, the district can seek a waiver from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for cancellations which occur after Jan. 21, 2012.
“Cancelled days before Jan 21 have to be made up,” Scallion said. “We could ask for a waiver for snow day cancellations after Jan. 21, as long as we have the hours.”
The district could slate half-day sessions to make up of a third snow day on the Feb. 7 professional development in-service day, which students have off, and for the fourth snow day makeup on Good Friday (April 6), a scheduled holiday.

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