Kids' Mid-Winter Break Cut Short by Hurricane Sandy

By Jill Colvin on November 19, 2012 7:43pm 

 Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott visited a newly reopened school Nov. 19, 2012 in the Rockaways.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott visited a newly reopened school Nov. 19, 2012 in the Rockaways.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

NEW YORK CITY — Hurricane Sandy is now wreaking havoc on mid-winter break.

To make up for school days lost during the storm, the Department of Education will eliminate the last three days of February break, officials announced Monday night.

Feb. 20, 21 and 22 will now become full school days. And June 4, which was originally scheduled as a clerical half day, will also become a full day of instruction, officials said.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and the teachers and principals unions, who reached the joint agreement, said in a statement that the change was necessary to keep the city eligible for state funding, which requires that kids attend school at least 180 days a year.

“Teachers, principals, and the school community made an extraordinary effort to get our schools back online after the storm, and by working together, we were able to open most schools with minimal disruption,” Walcott and the union officials said. “It is just as important that we recover the time lost, and this agreement will provide students with additional class instruction."

Students at the approximately 20 schools that were shuttered for longer than five days will also have to arrange additional makeup days, a DOE spokeswoman said.

Per the agreement, the decision on when to hold those makeup days will be determined individually by each school's principal and United Federation of Teachers chapter leader.

Earlier Monday, Walcott had said he was considering several options, including extending the school year, to make up the lost days.

“My goal is to make sure we have the maximum number of days for our students,” he said.

Nearly 8,000 students from 18 schools remain displaced to alternate locations while their schools undergo repairs.

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