WESTPORT, Conn. — Westport students will only have four days off for spring break in April because the school district has had one too many snow days so far this winter.
Spring break was scheduled to begin April 14. Instead, school will be in session that day to make up for the most recent snow day on Feb. 14, Board of Education Chairwoman Elaine Whitney said. That was the district’s sixth weather-related cancellation of the winter, Whitney said.
The other five snow days do not need to be made up, however, thanks to school calendar guidelines the Board of Education approved last January, Whitney said. Under the guidelines, the school calendar now includes five built-in emergency cancellation days. Before this year, there were only three emergency cancellations days built into the calendar.
The guidelines also established that— in the event there are more than five snow/emergency closures in a school year— days would be made up during April vacation, starting with the first day and continuing as needed, Whitney said. In the past, there was no set standards on how days would be made up. Instead, the school board would meet and weigh its options— which often included conversations about cutting into February break, April vacation or extending the school year.
“In setting the guidelines, the Board [of Education] carefully considered many factors, including input from our teachers and administrators,” Whitney said Tuesday. “Our expectation is that our clear and early notice of the potential impact on April break will result in strong attendance.”
The board, she said, was prompted to establish these guidelines following a series of significant weather-related cancellations seen over the past several years due to Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy.
Although students will lose one day of April vacation, the good news is they don’t have to make it up in June. The last day of school is still scheduled for Friday, June 20. In neighboring Wilton, where no emergency closures are built into the school calendar, students will need to make up all six snow days in June.