EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 22, 2013

Andover High makeup day set for Saturday, April 27

Half day of school still scheduled townwide for Good Friday

ANDOVER — The School Committee voted to open up Andover High for Saturday classes yesterday, joining an already scheduled school day on Good Friday. But it took an hour of debate for the board to settle by a 3-2 majority on how to handle the situation in the least inconvenient way possible.

Schools region-wide are grappling with a form of snow daze, where school days lost this academic year to winter weather and Hurricane Sandy have left many school district calendars with more days to make up than options for dealing with them.

The last day the schools can be open is Friday, June 28, as stipulated by the Andover teacher’s contract with the department. More makeup days were needed before Tuesday’s snow day, and the committee voted 4-1 last week to open schools up for a half-day only on Good Friday, March 29.

That decision was revisited yesterday due to the extra snow day.

The School Committee has had a wealth of options to consider — school on Saturdays, take away April vacation days, or use Good Friday — with no “good decisions” available, committee Chairwoman Paula Colby-Clements said.

“None of the decisions are good decisions. We’ve talked about how, no matter what the decision is, we’re going to impact somebody, somehow,” she said.

Concerns for holding school on Good Friday have centered mostly on using a town-recognized religious day to hold even a half day of school.

Officials noted last week that school would be out by the time the religious observance period of 12 to 3 p.m. began.

Since then, 48 staff members put in notices to take the day off for religious observance by Wednesday’s deadline to do so. Of those, 28 substitute teachers were needed, and the district was able to fill every spot, Superintendent Marinel McGrath said.

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