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FAQs: Garden City Public Schools Instructional Days

In response to residents’ questions about the recent school closings due to the severe weather, the district compiled a list of FAQs.

In response to residents’ questions about the recent school closings due to the severe weather, the district has compiled a list of FAQs.
In response to residents’ questions about the recent school closings due to the severe weather, the district has compiled a list of FAQs.
In response to residents’ questions about the recent school closings due to the severe weather, the district has compiled a list of frequently asked questions:

Are there guidelines school districts must meet in order to reopen schools after a weather event like Hurricane Sandy?

Yes. The State Education Department (SED) issued a memo to all State school superintendents on Nov. 6 outlining conditions that needed to be met before schools could reopen safely to students after Hurricane Sandy.

The memo indicated that school buildings must have power, potable water and functioning bathroom facilities, communications capability (telephone, cell phone, Internet) and the confirmed operational support of local emergency entities such as fire and police departments and ambulance service. The memo is available at:  http://usny.nysed.gov/docs/recovering-from-hurricane-sandy.pdf.

How is the school district planning to make up the lost school days due to the recent severe weather?

Garden City’s Board of Education is currently considering its options. “Although no decision has been reached yet,” explained Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen, “three days during the February break, the 20, 21 and 22, are receiving serious consideration. A decision by the Board of Education is anticipated by the December meetings.”

How many days must a school district be in session in New York State?

New York State law requires 180 days of instruction, but SED can excuse up to 5 days “due to extraordinary circumstances.” These issues were addressed in the recent Severe Weather memo.

As much as is practicable, SED expects school districts to make an effort to make up the lost days by utilizing vacation days. Special legislation has been introduced to extend the waiver for 10 days in the case of Hurricane Sandy, however, it is not likely that the State Legislature will consider the waiver until its return to full session in January, and there is no guarantee of passage. The State has been reluctant to grant waivers in the past.

The district thanks the community for its patience in light of the difficult circumstances presented by the recent severe weather.

A special Board of Education meeting Monday evening in the Administration Building will discuss modifying the 2012-13 school calendar to address the days lost due to Hurricane Sandy.

Submitted by the Garden City School District

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