School closures due last weekend’s snowstorm have created a scheduling headache for education leaders. We visited the town of Cheshire on Thursday, where students have already missed five days of classes, and winter hasn’t even begun.
"Grades were supposed to close this week, so this is one of the critical weeks in school."
16-year old Kayleigh Torok is headed to a drama rehearsal at Cheshire High School. Classes are canceled and the school cafeteria is now an emergency shelter, but students in the fall play came in to rehearse anyway. She says right now, all the school’s computer systems are down. "So grades aren’t in. I’ve been studying all week anyway and doing all my homework because I know we’re going to be behind when we start back school again."
Student Ryan Hannon says he’s not sure what’ll happen when classes resume. "At this stage in our school year we have so many things going on in our schedules with tests and rehearsals. I know I’m extremely stressed out right now."
Principal Kevin Ryan says Cheshire High School will change the end of the marking term for the first semester. "The other thing is we offer a lot of AP courses here and those AP exams are set in May and they don’t change for anything. So we have a lot of kids who have now missed essentially a week’s worth of instruction."
All Connecticut school districts set their own calendars, but are required to offer 180 days of classroom time.
Superintendent Greg Florio says if this year’s winter is anything like last year’s, it could be very tricky for Cheshire to wrap up classes by the end of June. Classes were originally set to end on June 12th. "And we have now had five days already before Election Day, five snow days. So we are up to June 19th"
Some districts may cut into vacation, or reschedule professional development days.
The storm also added another layer of anxiety for high school seniors applying early decision to college. In response, more than 70 colleges and universities have extended their early decision deadlines.