Mr. Toles, a guidance counselor at Hills West said that the state legislature would not have a formal statement on what the changes will be until sometime as late as January. “There will probably not be any February break,” predicted sophomore Maxine Fenner. “They might even extend the end of the year,” guessed sophomore Elan Sharony. Although schedule changes were initially uncertain and the state legislature’s statement has not been released, the district has made alterations to the school calendar to accommodate past and future weather challenges.
On November 29th, the district released an in-depth synopsis of the changes to the calendar. In January, high school students will not have a formal midterm week. However, the primary change to the calendar is the fact that school will be in session February 19, 20, 21, 22 and May 28. These first four days make up most of our February break or President’s week. These February days are Tuesday through Friday, leaving Monday (President’s day) with school off. May 28th was an emergency day that, with the exception of last year, school usually turns out to be in session. People are understandably annoyed with these changes, as planning vacations ahead of time is relatively common. For students attending the Spain and France/Italy language trips, the trips are still on.
Although the district lost a total of seven days for students’ attendance and one for superintendent conferences, the district only had to make up five. Thankfully the district, prior to both weather events, had scheduled for 183 school days, exceeding the mandatory number by three days. Afterwards, seven school days and a conference day were lost, resulting in 175 days left in the calendar. To meet the 180 day standard once again, school must now be open for five additional days. Contrary to popular belief, the 180 days is not arbitrary, it is state law. Mrs. Salerno from the principal’s office commented, “Although people had things planned, rules are rules and we have to follow them.”
However, what happens if we have any more snow days? These emergency days have been changed to February 18th, March 27th, and March 28th. If we have one snow day, there will be school on February 18th; if we have two, there will be school on the 18th and March 27th; and three snow days will result in school on March 28th as well, which will take away days from spring break. If even more days must be cancelled due to extenuating circumstances, the district will have post-regents days on June 24th, 25th, and 26th. These days will be open for staff only. This satisfies some students’ concerns, particularly those who thought there was a possibility of the end of the school year being extended for students.
Though the extra days added are not particularly desirable, they’re necessary to obey the school’s regulations and the state’s laws.