How NJ schools are navigating a crazy number of snow days
For the seventh time in 2018, weather conditions have cancelled the school day in Roxbury Township.
Entering the school year, township students assumed their last day of classes would fall on June 21. But the final day has been pushed back until at least June 26 with the latest round of wintry weather.
The district has already kept schools open on days that were originally slated for closure, and the board voted Monday night to keep Spring Break in tact.
Despite the extended year, Roxbury's high school students are still scheduled to graduate on June 21. According to Ann Rhodes, community relations coordinator, the district received special permission to hold the graduation ceremony before the school year ends.
"But those kids who have to make the 180-day requirement have to come after that," Rhodes said. "Technically, their diplomas would not be issued until that 180-day time frame is met."
It may be spring, but school districts throughout the Garden State are being forced to make adjustments to their calendars in order to make room for relentless Mother Nature.
Public schools are required to wrap up their academic year of 180 days by June 30, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association. A "day" must include four hours of "pupil contact time" — delayed openings and early dismissals fit the bill.
Before receiving an actual diploma, students must fulfill all state and local graduation requirements. But if scheduling is an issue, districts can hold a graduation ceremony — without distributing the certificates, according to the state Department of Education.
Old Bridge schools are already cutting into Spring Break, and Wednesday's closure cuts the April hiatus even further.
"If we exhausted all of the Spring Break days, then we'd have to look to add on to the end and technically move the graduation date," said Superintendent David Cittadino.
The graduation ceremony is currently scheduled for June 25 at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. Cittadino said the venue is holding the 26th for the district in case a change needs to be made.
"We have our hands tied in many ways by this storm and this unforgiving winter that we're having," he added.
Wednesday takes care of the final snow day built into the Toms River Regional School District calendar. The academic year will end on Thursday, June 21, unless the district needs to cancel school again.
"We still have that Friday, which doesn't force us to go into the following week," said Superintendent David Healy.
The district's graduations occur on site and will take place on the last day of school, wherever that may land.
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