Because of schedule changes due to Hurricane Sandy, there is only one day off during what was supposed to be February break. The vacation was supposed to be from February 18th to the 22nd, but all of those off days were eliminated except for Monday, the 18th. Although there is no extended break, many students will not be attending school that week because of previous plans made.
For those students attending the overseas school trips, there is a variety of reactions to missing a whole week of school. Some attending the trip are worried about missing the week, while others are far too excited about the trip to worry. Senior Samantha Mitchnick, who is going on the trip to Italy and France, commented, “I think it is fair that [the school removed] the break, and I’m not really worried about missing the week. I think this trip is a once in a lifetime experience and I think it will be worth missing just a few days of school.” On the other hand, senior Mia Pitsironis, who will also be attending the trip to Italy and France, stated, “The opening of school during the week of the trip is really going to put a damper on the trip [especially] knowing that when I get back [home] there will be so much work I have to make up. I don’t really think it’s fair, but I know that it was the only option due to Sandy. Of course I’m still as excited, I’m just worried about what the aftermath will bring.”
Students with pre-planned vacations for February break had different responses to the elimination of February break. “I am not really worried about missing the school days because I feel that [teachers will] understand that these are plans that could not be canceled. Therefore, I feel as if there will be some fairness in helping students to make up the work,” commented sophomore Josh Wende. Contrastingly, those who are not going on a previously scheduled vacation are upset that they must sit through school instead of relaxing at home. “I am disappointed that the break is gone, but I understand that it has to be. I think the school days will be relatively relaxing days because most of the classes will be pretty much empty,” stated sophomore Devin Dubin. While the students are not pleased that the break has been taken away, they understand the necessity of having those school days.
10th grade administrator, Mr. Bongino, clarified the specifics of the week. “The week will consist of normal instructional school days. However, the teachers will be mindful of the absences, and will adjust their teaching schedules as they see fit. The teachers will continue to teach the curriculum, but there will be no major exams or assessments that strongly impact a student’s grade. Homework will remain based on the teacher’s preference, and all students who miss will have an opportunity to make up the work and to be taught the lesson by the teacher,” explained Mr. Bongino. The school definitely is aware of those who will be absent during February break and will give them a fair chance at learning the lessons at a separate time.
Many teachers in the school have different ideas for the week and for their instructional plans. Mrs. Madden, an English teacher, commented, “I was informed that I should be using my personal professional judgment. If I realize that the absence is excessive, it wouldn’t be logical for me to give a major test or project that would be difficult for others to make up. I am going to continue teaching normally, but I will adapt my plan depending on the excessiveness of the absences.” However, Mrs. Palmada, a Spanish teacher, has a different view. “I understand that the situation is difficult because many people have trips that cannot be canceled. I am going to teach the normal curriculum though, because I do not have the time to completely stop the class. I will offer extra help sessions for all those that miss class to make up the lessons, but I will still have to continue,” explained Mrs. Palamada. Ms. Lislevatn, who teaches AP European History and AP Macro/Microeconomics, has a less flexible schedule due to the upcoming AP exams. “Unfortunately the hurricane threw things off and has negatively impacted everyone. However, those that will not be in school that week will have to do the work at home. I will have the assignments for the week given to them ahead of time, and they will have to read over their break,” Mrs. Lislevatn explained.
Throughout this chaotic week, classes will not be on a hiatus; however, tests and projects will be limited. Fortunately, those who are unable to attend school will have an opportunity to learn the lessons they had missed when they return. The entire Half Hollow Hills community was impacted by the predicament created from Hurricane Sandy, and everyone is working together to get through the year successfully and as easily as possible.