In the wake of the committee’s decision, little feedback has come in to the committee’s members, giving Colby-Clements the indication that the committee’s prior decision was a sound one.
“Our decision has to be based on what we think the will of the community is,” she said. “I was very surprised at how few emails we received over that decision.”
Town Moderator Sheila Doherty said she was an advocate “that we not go down the road of using Good Friday. As a community, Andover has always respected the holy days of its citizens.”
Andover Education Association President Kerry Costello, representing the districts teachers, nurses and other school staff, said that Andover’s school system has held classes on one Good Friday in the past, so no precedent was being established by doing it this year.
Meanwhile, the discussion was losing sight of the other religions that “get left aside” in their holidays, according to Costello.
“We need to be cognizant that there are other religions that celebrate holidays that aren’t given any exception,” she said. “The Greek Orthodox, they celebrate Good Friday — but not on March 29 — and we could go down the list of other religions.”
Another option discussed by the committee was opening up April vacation days to school. That option was viewed as an unpopular alternative for many.
While little feedback came in on using Good Friday as a make-up day, member Annie Gilbert forecast that a torrent of complaints would come in from affected families if the committee took away vacation days.
“Our in-boxes would be full,” she said. “There would be a big backlash, because people have made plans, teachers have made plans, families have made plans.”
Also complicating the matter was the fact that West Middle School is scheduled to undergo prep work for a future construction project that will require the school be closed to the public, according to McGrath.