After Sandy, Merrick schools adjust schedules


Class will be in session for students in every school district in the Merricks on days that were originally slated for February break, officials say.

The boards of education of the Merrick, North Merrick and Bellmore-Merrick Central High School Districts have all approved changes to their schools’ calendars, which were devised to make up instructional days lost in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. In each of the three districts, Feb. 20, 21 and 22 were officially made school days for students, in addition to other adjustments.

All 19 schools in the Merricks and Bellmores were closed for five or more days after Sandy’s high winds knocked out power across the area and caused flooding in southern parts of the community, with snow falling a few days after students’ return to school. The community’s five superintendents communicated with one another and staff members within their districts to come up with similar plans to make up for lost time.

The Merrick Union Free School District Board of Education was first to approve an adjusted calendar on Dec. 4. Dr. Dominick Palma, superintendent of the district that includes Norman J. Levy Lakeside, Roland A. Chatterton and Birch schools, said Feb. 20 to 22 will be instructional days. Students in his three schools will also be in class for half a day on March 22, which was originally scheduled as a parent-teacher conference day.

Palma said the Merrick district cancelled six instructional days because of inclement weather. Although he noted that he received a few emails from parents concerned about February vacation plans before the calendar adjustment was made official, he said parents and the entire community are aware that district officials had no choice but to make up school days on consecutive, non-religious holidays in February.

“When we looked at other options, none were remotely viable,” he said. “There would not have been instructional continuity.”

Officials at Merrick’s other elementary school district agreed, as the North Merrick Union Free School District’s schools will also be in session for students from Feb. 20 to 22.

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