Commack students had unexpected days off from school due to Hurricane Sandy, students will wind up making up part of that time this winter, according to school officials.
Commack School District was closed for 8 days following the storm, which created widespread power outages and rendered several local roadways temporary impassable. Students will be expected to make up for 5 of the 8 days by eliminating the district's mid-winter recess in February.
Schools will be in session from Feb. 18 - Feb. 22, 2013, which will bring students into school on President's Day - a Federal Holiday.
"Schools are prohibited from opening on Federal holidays such as Veterans Day, with one exception, which is President's Day in February," wrote superintendent Donald James in a Nov. 21 letter to parents published on the district's website.
James said despite pending legislation in Albany that would allow school districts affected by Hurricane Sandy to waive 10 of the 180 required school days, it would not apply to Commack schools.
"The legislation clearly state that the waiver can only be used if the Superintendent certifies that all 'scheduled vacation days' have been used to make up any missed days," James said.
Despite cutting mid-winter recess, the district still have scheduled vacation days for the upcoming winter holidays and spring recess in March.
Commack school officials recognized that the decision to eliminate students' mid-winter recess will have impact on the community.
"I understand this decision may force families and staff to alter previously planned activities," James said. "However, you should know that I personally met with the Commissioner of Education and have spoken with local and state officials sharing our concerns related to opening schools in February; these concerns range from attendance to weather."
The district's revised 2012-13 school calendar contains the mandated 180 instruction days with allowances for up to three snow days this winter. However, the superintendent warned that should there be more than three snow days, students will have to make up the additional closings during March's spring recess. The specific dates were not listed in the superintendent's Nov. 21 letter to parents.
"I understand the hardships the storm and subsequent decision about our calendar may create for many of our families. However, it is my responsibility to assure a solid educational school year for the students of Commack," James wrote.
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