PELHAM, N.Y. – Pelham students will have to make up two days of school during spring break after losing out on five days following Hurricane Sandy, the district has announced. The first of those days marks the beginning of Passover.
“I regret the way all of this has played out,” wrote Interim Superintendent Charles Wilson in a recent letter to parents. “No one could have foreseen the devastation of Sandy, which has resulted in the necessity of making up days lost during a religiously meaningful period.” The Pelham School District builds four snow days into its calendar, all of which were used up in the days immediately following Hurricane Sandy. Students didn’t return to school until Nov. 5. The district is required to schedule two school makeup days, which will fall on Monday, March 25, and Tuesday, March 26. Spring vacation week was to begin that Monday and end on Friday, March 29. If there are additional closings this winter due to snow or ice, the rest of the week – March 27 through March 29 – may also be used to make up days. Students who miss school on makeup days will be given an unexcused absence, unless they are absent for religious reasons. Jewish students will be excused for observance of Passover with a note from a parent. The same policy applies to Christian students in case it is necessary to make up a day on Good Friday. Winter recess vacation days from Feb. 18 to Feb. 22 will not be used for makeup. “The idea of making up days in February never gained any traction here in Pelham …” Wilson wrote.
The district calendar designated the March vacation for makeup days when it was published last spring. “As a result, it would be grossly unfair to switch dates now since staff and the public were told previously that March, not February, would be used for makeup,” continued Wilson.