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School Districts Shorten February Break

Vacation days taken away to compensate for days lost to Superstorm Sandy.

Both the Hewlett-Woodmere and Lawrence school districts will make up the days lost to Superstorm Sandy by going into session during February break.

Hewlett took back vacation days scheduled from Feb. 19 through 22, while Lawrence will have classes from the 20th to the 22nd. Both districts have also turned their high schools’ midterm weeks into regular school days, with exams being given in class.

“We have gone through a disaster,” Hewlett-Woodmere Superintendent Dr. Joyce Bisso said about the district’s decision. “No one wants to do this. It was the most reasonable thing to do.”

Many Long Island school districts are taking similar measures to meet the 180 school day requirement. Although Hewlett-Woodmere officials were hoping the state would provide an exception to the rule, they acknowledge that even if it does happen, it’ll be too late.

February break was the most obvious choice for districts, as it is earlier in the school year, and later breaks, such as the one in spring, usually coincides with religious holidays. By many districts taking back similar days, services, such as those delivered by BOCES, are more easily coordinated.

“This is a very difficult decision,” said Hewlett-Woodmere School Board Member Melissa Gates. “No one wants to give back vacation time.”

However, officials said that the students’ education comes first.

“We care about the instructional knowledge that each grade level needs to acquire in order to do their best and move forward,” said Lawrence Assistant Superintendent Dr. Ann Pedersen.

With Joley Welkowitz

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