With five snow days, schools brace for impact to April vacation

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Feb. 14, 2013
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kate Carter has asked parents to supervise students as they wait for the bus until the roads and visibility have improved. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

As of press time, the South Windsor public school system has had five weather-related closures this school year: Oct. 29, Oct. 30, Jan. 16, Feb. 8 and Feb. 11. With so many days lost to severe weather, many parents – and students – are wondering how the lost time will be made up, and the main concern for students is that they will lose their April vacation.

According to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kate Carter, there is no impact to April vacation – yet. “The policy is we can have up to five snow days before we start making up during April vacation,” said Carter.

The unprecedented blizzard on Feb. 8 brought Connecticut to a standstill. The Facilities Department of South Windsor Public Schools worked long hours under difficult conditions to maintain school facilities following the storm, including clearing walkways and removing snow from roofs. These efforts were done in concert with the town's Public Works Department, which strove to keep the roads plowed so that buses could safely complete their routes.

The blizzard forced the closure of school on Friday, Feb. 8, and Monday, Feb. 11. Carter also called for a 90-minute delay on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The purpose of the delay was to give parents more time to watch children as they wait for their bus, as per Carter's request. With many sidewalks still buried beneath snow and piles obstructing what once were bus stops, Carter wanted to ensure that what had the potential to be a hazardous situation was closely supervised by adults. The delay was also meant to provide more daylight to those getting to school, be they high school students driving themselves or students waiting for buses.

Originally, the last day of school was slated for Tuesday, June 18. With the added five make-up days, students will now be looking forward to June 25 – four days after the official beginning of summer. Any more snow days will begin to be taken out of April vacation, unless the policy is suspended. “That is the standing policy,” said Carter. “But the Board of Education could suspend that and add on to the end of the year if they choose.” Two years ago, with cancellations occurring early in the school year, the BOE opted to take time out of February break instead of impacting April break.

For the most accurate update on school closures, parents should inquire at their child's school office about signing up for the School Messenger System.


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