Education

Weather Closures Force Somers to Shorten School Break

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Schoolchildren in Somers like Rachel Lamb, who enjoyed snow days as the district called them, will have to make up for them come the Memorial Day break. Credits: File
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SOMERS, N.Y.-The 2018-19 academic year in Somers’ public schools will start later, end later and—as schedule-makers had hoped to provide this year—include three weeklong breaks and a four-day Memorial Day weekend.

Unfortunately, the current calendar has run afoul of winter’s weather, already erasing the extended Memorial Day celebration and threatening, so far, to truncate spring break by a day.

The new calendar, posted on the Somers Central School District website last week, calls for a 180-day academic year (visit TAPinto Somers for a link). Classes will begin Sept. 5, a Wednesday, not the Tuesday immediately following the Labor Day weekend. The year will wrap up June 26, 2019. This year, June 22 marks the last day of school.

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Rolling out the 2017-18 calendar a year ago, the school board president, Sarena Meyer, presciently warned, “God help us if we have more than four snow days.” The district would stand to lose state aid if snow or other contingencies outran the district’s four built-in snow emergency days. Instead, cutting scheduled days off becomes the way to meet Albany’s mandated total of 180 classroom days.

School Superintendent Raymond Blanch blamed ice more than snow for wiping out the four scheduled snow days, then turning May 25 into a school day and putting a bull’s-eye on April 6, a Friday.

Converting April 6 to a day of classes would turn spring break into only a four-day Monday-to-Thursday getaway, at least technically. In fact, March 30 is Good Friday, the start of Easter weekend. Since that three-day observance abuts spring break, schools would be shuttered for seven consecutive days, through April 5.

Still, any vacation plans based on weekends at both ends of the spring break are in jeopardy if classes are forced to resume April 6.

Blanch, for his part, hopes to maintain the holiday. “We’re going to watch and observe over the next few weeks and see if there might be another possible solution,” he told the school board at its Feb. 13 meeting.

Similar weeklong breaks are scheduled for the new academic year in December, February and April. The first and last recess each adds a day.

Though it effectively begins with the close of school Dec. 21, the December holiday break officially starts on Christmas Eve, a Monday, and runs through the following Monday, New Year’s Eve. Tack on the Jan. 1 New Year’s observance and this break totals a dozen days.

February’s break will be five days, Feb. 18 through 22, but April’s spans 10 if you include the weekends flanking April 15 through 22.

Fair warning, however: April 22 would be the second holiday sacrificed if necessary to maintain a 180-date schedule. The first day to go would be May 24, the Memorial Day weekend bonus time off, if weather or other emergencies close schools.

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