October Snow Days Force NJ Spring Breaks to Shorten

Some districts will have to shorten spring break after calling snow days in October

By Brian Thompson
|  Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011  |  Updated 8:43 AM EDT
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Some New Jersey school districts are still reeling from the Halloween-weekend snowstorm that cut off power to well over 2 million residents, and they now face an uncertain schedule heading into winter.

In West Orange, students will have to miss a third day of school Wednesday, already going over the maximum number of two allowable snow days. As a result, their weeklong spring vacation will be shortened by at least one day, said spokeswoman Jeannine Genauer.

And if more snowstorms force school districts to close once winter comes roaring through, that will raise more questions of how to squeeze in the state-required 180 days of instruction.

Superintendents and parents are already on edge over last winter's near-record snowfalls.

Ezra Ferguson, 44, a mother of four students in Ridgewood, said Tuesday she would be working if she wasn't taking care of her homebound children.

"I would probably be working on my computer, I'm a photographer," said Ferguson as she prepared to drive off with all four in her minivan.

Ridgewood students get two weeklong breaks after the new year, in February and in April, according to Superintendent Dr. Dan Fishbein.

Normally, Ridgewood makes up excessive snow days during the April break. If the number of snow days taken exceed the number of days in the April break, it will take away from February's mid-winter time off.

But if the extra snow days don't come until March, for example, and the April break can't accommodate the total number of required make-up days, then Fishbein says the school year would have to be lengthened.

But Fishbein said he wouldn't worry about the snow days until the winter.

For students like Zoe Ferguson, a junior at Ridgewood High School, getting back to school can't come too early.

As she texted away on her smartphone while it recharged in her mother's car, Zoe said, "I'd rather have power than no school."

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