Heavy Plow of Snow Causes Changes to Calendar

Brrr! Due to the many incidents of inclement weather within the past month, the Woodbridge Township School District has decided to revise the 2013-2014 school calendar starting with President’s Day and Spring Break.

This winter is looking to be a rough one. The township has used all of the three built in snow days allowed for one school year because of all the snow New Jersey has been getting. The townships first used snow day was December 10th, followed by January 3rd and 22nd, and then to the most recent ones – February 3rd, 5th and 13th. Thankfully, delayed openings have helped with not losing even more days. With even more snow to follow, who knows how the rest of the school year will shape up to be.

The snow days of December 10th, January 3rd, and January 22nd were the three snow days that the township have and always will build into the school calendar to meet the state-required 180 days of school. When not used, those days are usually added to Memorial Day Weekend or a longer spring break. The February 3rd snow day, however, was the first snow day that was not scheduled in and was the reason for the loss of Presidents Day, February 17th. Students had to complete a full day of school. The cancelled school day of February 5th was the cause behind the loss of April 25th – the Friday of Spring Break. Just recently, the snow day of February 13th was the reason far losing the Thursday of Spring Break, April 24th.  School will now be in session both of those days and will follow the regular 2:30 dismissal.

However, controversy over the loss of a non-school day has initiated. Parents of students within the three high schools, five middle schools, and sixteen elementary schools are starting to worry about their plans for the previously scheduled 2014 Spring Break.  But as a result of New Jersey following the mandatory 180 school day schedule, the school year HAS to have a full 180 day school calendar.  Questions like “what if I have a vacation planned?” and “will my child be reliable for the absence if he/she does not attend school?” have begun to circle.

When asked those questions, Colonia High Schools Principal, Mr. Pace, responded, “students, as well as teachers, will be reliable for any day that they miss.” So days will be held against the students who either don’t show up or have a valid reason as to why they couldn’t attend. Pace also added, “The Board of Education puts out the calendar a year in advance and even adds at the bottom when, if need be, extra snow days will be used so it’s an incentive to be careful planning vacations/ getaways around those days.” Ultimately, the loss of certain days shouldn’t come as a surprise if and when it should happen.

Some school districts across New Jersey are trying to hold Saturday half-day classes to make up the lost school days and others have extended the school year, pushing back graduation. The Pascack Valley School District in Bergen County held an virtual class on the last snow day with 90% of students participating in the online class that day. Could this be a new trend for future snow days?

If more days should be taken off of the calendar, they will be taken off from the Wednesday – April 23rd – to the Monday – April 21st. Let’s hope for no more snow in the upcoming weeks. Stay warm Colonia High.