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School’s over soon, but will reopen before Labor Day in Riverhead

05/23/2016 6:00 AM |

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This year’s summer vacation will be cut short for students in the Riverhead School District.

Classes will begin Friday, Sept. 2, so the calendar can accommodate additional snow days if necessary, said Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney.

“Student attendance was very sparse during the makeup days over the traditional breaks this past year,” Ms. Carney wrote in an email last Monday. “This resulted in significant loss of instructional time.”

This year, Labor Day falls on Monday, Sept. 5. Students in other local districts, including Shoreham-Wading River, Mattituck-Cutchogue, Greenport and Oysterponds, will start classes Wednesday, Sept. 7. Southold School District will begin the 2016-17 school year Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Ms. Carney, who said the Riverhead School District hasn’t started school before Labor Day in the six years she’s been superintendent, noted that the earlier date was “created with consensus from staff members,” adding that it “will allow teachers and students to get the necessary opening-day scheduling and routines established before the weekend.”

Eric Maas of Calverton, who has two children enrolled in the district, said Monday that school administrators hadn’t notified him of the start date, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Education during a March meeting.

“The school district calls my house for everything else, yet can’t seem to send out any notices about changing next year’s school start date,” Mr. Maas said. He added that his children will miss the first day of school because they’ll be camping upstate over Labor Day weekend.

The Riverhead School District’s 2016-17 calendar also includes a shortened Thanksgiving break. Students in grades K-6 will have half-days with parent-teacher conferences Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 22 and 23, and older students will have full days of school on those dates. Traditionally, the district is closed the day before Thanksgiving, which falls on Thursday, Nov. 24, this year.

In March, Ms. Carney said next year’s calendar includes three snow days.

Roughly a year ago, Ms. Carney’s administration proposed a controversial plan to establish new vacations during the spring instead of observing the traditional five-day vacation in February. After teachers in the district objected to that idea during a Board of Education meeting, school board members adopted a calendar preserving the winter break.

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