Snow Day Consequences

Snow Day Consequences

A sailboat washed ashore on Saugatuck Island in Westport after Hurricane Irene hit.

On Sun., Aug.28, Westport was paid a visit by Hurricane Irene, resulting in schools being delayed opening for two days, and general feelings of joy at the change. Yet, much less joy was felt when the delays led to a change in the school year calendar. Since then, rumors varied from adding on multiple days at the end of the year, taking away days from vacations, and even having school on Columbus Day.

In an email dated Sept. 20, Principal John Dodig reassured Staples High School that the rumors of losing school vacation would not happen.

After intense pressure from parents, students, and staff, the Board of Education is approaching the decision of where to input school days lost to Irene. Westport’s school system had to determine how to keep schools open for 182 days a year for students and 188 for staff despite snow days or recent “Tropical Storm Days” that have been experienced.

After careful consideration, Elliott Landon has proposed to the Board of Education that school should be extended from June 20-22. This decision will follow the district regulations [of 182 days for students and 188 days for staff] and allow for three snow days to occur in the winter.

Dr. Landon was determined to keep students out of school as minimally as possible, despite the fact that many students and teachers were at an inconvenience with no power. To configure snow days Dr. Landon states, “I use a wigi board…” then added that he was “only joking.” All joking aside, to determine a snow day, Landon contacts the highway department and decides to open school depending on the safety of the roads.

When asked why school was opened while some Westport families were left with no power, he argued it was because the roads were safe and the school had water to cook, drink, and use the toilets.

He also includes that he as well lost power for 6 days and, “you will get just as clean in a cold shower as in a hot shower,” said Landon.

Emma Tolkin ‘13 will be content with the Board of Education’s decision if days are added at the end of the year.

“Days should be added to the summer because at the end of the year school feels faster and AP’s had already ended, so adding a few more days in June isn’t that bad,” said Tolkin.

Another rumor was that break was going to be removed. Students must take prior commitments into consideration. Liam Orly ‘13 has vacation plans and does not want to worry about missing school and having schoolwork sit on his shoulders over his whole break.

He feels that, “taking away vacation is just annoying. It’s our break,” said Orly.

However, Jessica Ostrager ‘12 will not be in agreement with the BOE’s new decision if it entails adding on days in June.

“Well I’m a senior, so I just want to go and graduate. I don’t want to be here longer than I have to,” said Ostrager.

According to Jacob Mesiel ‘13, a student with a stong interest in weather and his own weather blog, this winter is supposed to be close to average and have around 2-4 snow days. Meisel’s idea for the future schedule contradicts Landon’s proposal.

Meisel has some possible outcomes and solutions of his own. “It appears that we will only go over by 2-3 days. We have 2 extra days built into the schedule each year, so we can eliminate those. Then, we can pull out one staff development day, maybe at the end of February break, if we need an extra day.”