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More Snow Days Could Lead to Saturday Classes [AUDIO]

School on Saturday may soon become the best option for some New Jersey school districts if Mother Nature doesn’t stop picking on the Garden State.

A number of districts have already used up their allotted snow days for the year, forcing them to re-adjust their calendars by shortening spring break, taking away holidays or extending the year in June.

classroom, students
Jeff J Mitchell, Getty Images

In Fort Lee, though, four-hour Saturday sessions are on the table. The Board of Education plans to vote this month on which route they take, and if Saturdays get the thumbs-up, the sessions could start as soon as March 15.

Frank Belluscio, deputy executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association, said Saturday classes could be the better option for districts in which many families are planning vacations during spring break.

“If you do shorten those spring breaks, you’ll have a high absentee rate,” Belluscio said. “Whereas if you do Saturday classes, you’ll have more kids in school on those Saturdays.”

Absenteeism and a lack of productivity are also concerns for districts considering extra days in June.

Belluscio noted Saturday classes were seen a number of times in New Jersey during the ’90s, when severe snow events kept kids out of school for consecutive days.

“It was the only way they were able to complete the 180-day minimum requirement,” Belluscio said. “If the winter continues to be severe, if there are many more school closings, you might see other districts that do consider Saturday classes.”

The next round of school closures is expected tomorrow, and perhaps Friday as well, as much of the state may end up dealing with at least a half-foot of snow.

The Morris School District has already decided to bring students in on Presidents’ Day next week, and if additional emergency days are needed, “days originally scheduled for spring break will be converted to school days,” according to the district’s website.

Spring break has been shortened by a day so far in Edison, where four days were already canceled.

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