Districts split on canceling break after Sandy

Hurricane Sandy, February Break, Long Island School Districts
BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | The auditorium at Riverhead High School served as a shelter during and after Sandy, until classes resumed Thursday.

Local school district officials are giving mixed reports on whether they’ll shorten their upcoming February breaks due to superstorm Sandy-related closings.

Many Long Island schools have already cancelled all or some of their mid-winter breaks.

Shoreham-Wading River officials have announced they will likely reduce their February break to make up for school days lost due to superstorm Sandy — though nothing is set in stone.

McGann-Mercy High School officials said they would not shorten their winter break, because they only lost 2 1/2 days of school.

Riverhead schools convened classes the Thursday and Friday after the storm, which hit Monday. The district lost three school days, said superintendent Nancy Carney, but some of those school days have been made up using superintendent conference days.

The Riverhead school board will adopt a revised calendar at its meeting Tuesday night, she said, adding that she was still meeting with union representatives and school officials, but expected the district would not have to shorten mid-winter break unless there are additional missed school days during the winter.

Shoreham-Wading River students are among many on Long Island who lost five school days because of the storm, officials said.

The district only had two school days built into the schedule to cover storm-related school closings, said district superintendent Steven Cohen.

Mr. Cohen said the district is bound by state law to hold a minimum of 180 days of instruction. Unless the state Legislature allows the state education department to reduce the number of school days, the district’s vacation in mid-February will be cut short.

Under the current plan, Feb. 22 and 21 as well as Monday, April 1 will be school days. If more school days are cancelled during the winter, additional vacation days will be cut, Mr. Cohen said.

“Please note that these changes to the school calendar are provided now to enable you to begin planning for the February and March breaks, but there is still a chance that the Legislature will not require us to make any changes to our current calendar,” he said.

McGann-Mercy High School had already planned to take the Thursday and Friday off during the week of superstorm Sandy for religious holidays, and so only lost two and a half school days, a school official said.

There have been no changes to the school’s vacation schedule.

[email protected]