After four days of weathering Hurricane Sandy and working to restore power in the aftermath, Centennial schools were back in session Friday morning. (The only exception was Klinger Middle School, which experienced more electrical problems late Thursday night and was forced to remain closed.)
As the students get back to the daily grind after a brief and unexpected respite, administrators are looking at what effect the four-day interruption will have on the school calendar. Pennsylvania statutes require public schools to complete 180 days of instruction before July 1.
According to Centennial's 2012-2013 calendar, June 20, 2013 is marked as the final day of class for students. Superintendant Dr. Jenny Cressman stated in e-mailed comments that with winter still weeks away, it is too early to project what the last day of school will be.
"We will evaluate and adjust the calendar as the year progresses with plenty of notice to our families," she wrote.
According to the state statutes, waivers can be granted to the 180-day requirement depending on the emergency. A two-part test is considered in granting the waiver: 1) Did the emergency cause all the schools in the district to be canceled, and 2.) Will the schools be able to make up all the days by June 30?
However, the policy states that closures caused by extreme weather conditions are not considered an emergency for granting a waiver, a fact reinforced by e-mailed comments from department spokesperson Tim Eller to Patch.
"Schools are expected to meet the 180-day requirement by June 30, 2013," Eller wrote.
Eller also wrote that waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis. A spokesperson with Centennial School District said that superintendents from school districts throughout Bucks County are planning to collectively request a waiver for the days missed because of Hurricane Sandy.