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Pelham Students Could See Shorter Vacation Breaks

The Pelham school district might have to cut into its school vacation days if classes have to be canceled because of snow.
The Pelham school district might have to cut into its school vacation days if classes have to be canceled because of snow. Photo Credit: Justin Stock

PELHAM, N.Y. – Most school districts have used up their built-in snow days for Hurricane Sandy, so many Pelham students may see shorter vacation breaks during the rest of the year.

New York Education Commissioner John King can excuse up to five of the required 180 school days for "extraordinary circumstances," according to the state Education Department, but only after all possible vacation days are used in the district.

The state implemented a provision for last year that allowed up to 10 excusable days after Hurricane Irene. Department spokesperson Antonia Valentine said it's too soon to tell whether a similar provision will be enacted this year.

"We can't predict whether the Legislature will act to provide relief from the 180-day requirement again this year," Valentine wrote in an email.

The department's regulations say that not even a state of emergency — which was declared by several towns in Westchester County and by Gov. Andrew Cuomo — will excuse schools from operating for at least 180 days.

The Pelham school district builds four snow days into its calendar, which were already used before students returned to school Nov. 5 after Hurricane Sandy.

It's too soon to tell how the district will handle the situation if it sees more snow days this winter.

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