Montclair schools add day back to calendar after too many snow days
Courtesy James Frederick Brown
By ERIN ROLL
Montclair has had one too many snow days this year thanks to a series of late winter and early spring Nor’easters that led to school closures. Originally scheduled as a day off, students will have to make up the snow day this Thursday, March 29.
The district missed a total of four days of school because of this winter’s Nor’easters. Under New Jersey state law, school must be in session for students for a minimum of 180 days a year. This year, the calendar has a total of 183 student days built in, which allows the district to miss no more than three days of school before the district has to start adding days back to the calendar.
When scheduling this year’s school calendar, school officials had planned to make up any snow days during the April spring break. Since the last snow was so recent and families had most likely booked their spring break plans, the district decided to subtract a staff development day planned for the Thursday before Easter instead.
“Calendar changes are never easy, but we wish for you to know that this issue was considered thoughtfully to ensure the least disruption. As spring break is just days away, we have decided to use March 29 instead of disrupting spring break, which will continue to be scheduled for April 2-6. In addition, recapturing March 29 as an abbreviated day may still allow families an early start to the break,” Interim Superintendent Barbara Pinsak wrote in a letter to parents.
On social media, there had been concerns among parents that the district would subtract a day from spring break.
On the month-by-month version of the 2017-2018 calendar, there was this disclaimer: “If emergency or snow days are required, any in excess of three (3) will be made up as full days in the following sequence: 4/6, 4/5, 4/4, 4/3, 4/2. Any days in excess of these days may require extending the school year. When advisable, a two-hour delayed opening will be used rather than an emergency closing. A delayed opening on an early dismissal day will cancel the early dismissal and school will end at the regular time. On delayed opening days, staff is expected at the regular time or as soon after as weather permits.”
This year, the schools will be out of session from March 30, Good Friday, through the following Friday, April 6.
Some school districts have experimented with “virtual school days” as a means to make up for days lost because of snow. Pascack Valley School District held a series of virtual snow days in 2014, in which students and teachers participated in lessons through online forums. However, the state Department of Education said that the virtual days did not count as actual classroom time, and therefore could not be counted toward days in session. Although Pascack recently held a virtual day to make up for a March snow day.
“We don’t have a ruling on whether virtual school days count for the 180. That would also require that everyone have Internet, which they don’t,” Pinsak said.
•Bradford Elementary 1:40 p.m.
•Charles H. Bullock Elementary 1:40 p.m.
•Edgemont Elementary 1:10 p.m.
•Developmental Learning Center 1:50 p.m.
•Hillside Elementary 2:10 p.m.
•Nishuane Elementary 2:10 p.m.
•Northeast Elementary 1:10 p.m.
•Watchung Elementary 1:40 p.m.
•Buzz Aldrin Middle 12:40 p.m.
•Glenfield Middle 2:40 p.m.
•Renaissance at Rand Middle 1:10 p.m.
•Montclair High School 12:50 p.m.