Snow Days & Half Days Message from Superintendent McGrath

As you have probably heard, the forecast for tonight is calling for a snow storm. I wanted to take a minute to remind everyone of our winter-weather related emergency procedures. We will be following the exact same procedures we have had in place for the past several years. On mornings when the weather is bad and road conditions are poor, we will let residents know by 5:30 a.m. if school is running on a 2-hour delay (final); running on a 2-hour delay (delayed decision on closing by 7 a.m.); or school is closed. Announcements are made on TV, on our website, and through School News Notifier (SNN).  Please review our “Emergency Closing & Delays” webpage on our website for more details.

Some parents have asked if we will be having “fully remote learning” on days when the weather is bad and our buildings are closed. We have chosen NOT to enact this option at this time. NYS Education Department guidance requires that any day that schools pivot to fully remote instruction in order to avoid using a snow day, they are still required to provide full services to all out-of-district transportation for private schools and special education. Rather than put some buses on the road and not others, we will elect to utilize traditional “snow days” for now.

I always get questions from students and parents about how many snow days we have available. Every summer when our Calendar Committee meets to plan the year’s instructional days, we build in 4-6 extra days beyond the 180 days school is required to be in session. This year was no different. Even with the delayed opening of school in September, we still have a 184-day school calendar. The extra days are available as emergency closing days and they allow the district to close due to inclement weather, should that need arise, and still meet the required number of days of school per NYSED guidelines.

On a related note, there is an updated calendar for January and February 2021. You will see that there are a number of half days scattered across those months. I know these half days are difficult for parents who need to arrange for child care and we apologize in advance for the inconvenience. However, these days are proving to be extremely valuable to our efforts to keep schools open as we journey through this significant uptick in COVID-19 cases and mandatory quarantines. Teachers are working very hard to continually adjust and plan for a variety of in-person and remote scenarios that seem to change on a day-to-day basis. They use these half days, spaced out across the winter months, to meet, plan and make adjustments to better respond to changing needs.

I hope you are finding some time in the midst of these busy days to prepare for the Holiday season. We remain committed to do everything possible to keep school open. Thank you for your continued patience and support.