Sandy causes schools to make up days

Easton, Redding and Region 9 public schools have missed five consecutive days of school because of Superstorm Sandy.

With many residents without power, roads closed and Joel Barlow High School being used as a showering facility, Dr. Bernard Josefsberg, superintendent of ER9 schools, made the decision to keep students home.

Now, with winter knocking on the door and future storms likely to cancel school, the process will be the same as in previous years for makeup days, said Dr. Josefsberg.

“Five days will be presumably added to the last few days of the school year up to June 21. Then additional days will be taken from April vacation starting April 15 and if there are more days, we go into February vacation, Tuesday, Feb. 19. Then if more days need to be made up, we go into the last week of June,” he said.

This method was in place last year and when winter was over and there were very few cancellations, Dr. Josefsberg asked that Redding be given back April 16 [2012] and that a day be added to the end of the year.

“I wanted to try to create a common April break for Easton and Redding,” he said. This decision upset some parents because summer plans had already been made, he said.

At the start of the school year, Barlow’s tentative last day of school was scheduled for Thursday, June 13; Redding schools’ was Friday, June 14, and Easton schools’ was Monday, June 17.

Now with five days to make up, Barlow’s last day, as of now, will be Thursday, June 20, and Redding schools will go to June 21. Easton schools will also go until June 21 but will have to take a day from April vacation. Now their April vacation starts on Tuesday, April 16.

The process by which the superintendent decides whether to cancel or delay school starts early in the morning and depends on multiple factors, Dr. Josefsberg said.

When Redding received up to eight inches of snow on Wednesday, Nov. 7, when a nor’easter struck Fairfield County three days after students got back to school after Superstorm Sandy, Dr. Josefsberg announced an early dismissal of all schools.

That day was originally scheduled as an early dismissal, but because of the days missed with Sandy, it was modified to a full day. However, it quickly returned to a half-day due to the snow.

“You win some and you lose some,” said Dr. Josefsberg.

On Thursday, Nov. 8, Dr. Josefsberg received information from road crews on the conditions of the roads and he spoke with a meteorologist on what the forecast for the day would be, he said. From that information he reached a decision to delay the start of school by two hours.

“Some schools in the area canceled; some had a delay for two hours based on individual town circumstances,” he said.

In extraordinary circumstances when there is no power at residences, no power at school and road conditions are bad, it is best to keep students at home, he said.

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