Hercules Cancels School
By: Olivia M.
As the coldest season of the year recommences, Duxbury High School students are experiencing several school cancellations due to snowy conditions. On Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 and Jan. 3, blizzard Hercules struck the Northeast. Junior Pat Grady who usually spends days off catching up on sleep said, “It is a day to recover.” On the contrary, DHS Assistant Principal Jim Donovan said that decisions to cancel school are based on safety concerns. Donovan said, “If it is not safe to stand and wait for the bus or walk to school because we can’t clear the snow in time, then a snow day is the correct action.”
On Thursday, DHS had an early release as a result of heavy prospective snow in the afternoon. “I like half days and early dismissals because then we don’t have to make up days in the summer,” said sophomore Heather O’Brien. Similar to O’Brien, freshman Ben Button said that he prefers half days since he feels that not a lot of learning happens anyway. O’Brien also said that when the roads are too bad to drive, it ruins the fun of a snow day since she is not able to hang out with any friends.
The following day, Friday, Jan. 3, Hercules completely shut down Duxbury Public Schools similar to many other school districts in Massachusetts. Some students said they were glad to have a day off, while others said they are disappointed to have to attend school longer in the summer. Sophomore Hugh Grey said, “I know kids like [snow days], but I’m one of those kids that doesn’t.” Grey said that he dislikes making many days up when the weather gets warmer. On the other hand, secretary Carol Sullivan said that she is in favor of a few snow days because she loves the feeling of a storm that shuts everything down. Many students said that on snow days they enjoy sleeping in, hanging out with friends, watching television, and catching up on homework, such as junior Emily Nolton, junior Elizabeth Vitaro, and freshman Ellie Sohmer.
When a day of school is cancelled, a day of school must be made up; do Duxbury students actually go to school for 180 days like many students are under the impression of? As required by the law, school must be in session for a minimum of 180 days and include at least 990 instructional hours, said Donovan. By this standard, exam days do not count in contributing to the hour requirement since the time spent is not instructional, said Donovan. For these reasons, there are 182 days of school currently scheduled for Duxbury. Donovan said that because many professional development days this year switched from full days of school to half days, the extra two days were necessary.
Although cancellations impact food truck deliveries and the kitchen staff does not get ConnectEd calls to notify them that school is closed, cafeteria worker Deb Ford said, “I don’t like anyone’s child being in jeopardy because of weather period.” As a mother and grandmother, Ford said she feels that safety during transportation is a priority. Cafeteria worker Deb Karen said that it is worth making up the day at the end of the year in order to have a day off. Sophomore Cammy Schiller said that she dislikes the hassle of winter storms because she has to shovel her long driveway. Schiller said, “Why can’t my parents get a plow, a snowblower, or something?”
Due to the fact that members of the senior class do not have to make up snow days and get out earlier than the rest of the students, senior Sabrina Linskey said that she hopes for as many snow days as possible. Even though Button said that it is not fun to make up days of school in the summer since the weather is hot and sweaty, sophomore Caroline Fahey said, “Summer is long enough to lose a few days.”