Record snowstorms bury February school vacations
By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Feb. 11, 2011
East Hartford students recently learned that the multiple snowstorms that gave them so many days off in the past month have now buried their February vacation plans.
Mark Zito, the superintendent of East Hartford schools, announced this week that the Board of Education approved the recommendation to eliminate the four-day February break. As a result, students will be expected to attend school the week of Feb. 22-25 – following the Presidents’ Day holiday - for regular school hours.
Zito said the decision was based on two main concerns. “With the Connecticut Mastery Tests and the CAPT approaching, parents and teachers were voicing concern about instructional continuity, because we have had seven days of school cancellation.”
With that many days of school required to be made up, the administration examined the school calendar and saw that the last day of school had stretched all the way out to June 24.
“Going [to school] that late into the summer would be a problem, because many of our buildings are not air-conditioned, and that makes things more difficult in final month of school,” Zito said.
With the winter break cancellation, the last day of school is expected to be June 20, he said.
Students with families who have already booked vacations for the week of Feb. 22-25 can get approved absences with a note and/or documentation of the planned trip, such as a hotel reservation or copy of an airline ticket.
High school seniors who need credits toward graduation will have to communicate with their teachers about their pre-planned absence in order to make up missed assignments, Zito said. All missed assignments must be completed by March 7.
“It’s not our intention to penalize students or staff who have already paid for trips... we will work with students in terms of getting the required make-up work,” he added.
Students will still get one day off during that week, however, since the Presidents’ Day holiday will still be observed as usual, on Monday, Feb. 21.