Much uncertainty surrounded the remainder of the Rockville Centre school year after Hurricane Sandy and the ensuing nor’easter forced the cancellation of seven instructional school days.
On Tuesday night at its November meeting, the Rockville Centre Board of Education took four days off of the February winter vacation in order to make up for some of the lost time.
School will now be in session from Feb. 19-22 following the decision. Students will get a three-day weekend with Presidents' Day -- Feb. 18 -- still scheduled as a holiday.
“This is not a great situation either way,” Board of Education President Liz Dion said. “It’s not how we wanted things to go. We just feel that there is too much instructional time to not take advantage.”
According to New York State law, schools are required to be in session for 180 days. Of those 180 days, 176 of them must be student-attended days and four of them can be used as superintendent conference days.
In order to meet the state requirements, the school district needed to make up a minimum of three days. However, the school district added a fourth day so that it could allow for a cushion in case of another snow day.
After examining the three vacation periods during the school year, the board decided that February recess was the most accommodating to add school days back on.
According to the board, the Decemeber vacation was too close to alter and the March break presented the challenge of wrapping around two religious holidays in Easter and Passover.
The board did take into account already existing vacation plans that families may have booked for the February break, but ultimately decided that it was best suited for the added time.
Superintendent Dr. William H. Johnson pointed out that none of the school buildings received significant damage during the hurricane. The middle school clock tower suffered minor damages but was able to be temporarily repaired.
There was fear going into the storm that water may enter and flood Riverside, but Johnson was happy to report that no such incident occurred.
Two concerns that came to Johnson’s attention during the storm were the lack of a command center for the school district during the storm and its following days, as well as flaws in the district’s communication system. Johnson said that he hopes to see improvement in those two areas in the future.