Westchester Schools Keeping Close Eye On Remaining Snow Days

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Snowfall in Westchester this year has caused some schools to close three times already.
Snowfall in Westchester this year has caused some schools to close three times already. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- Some school districts throughout Westchester County are already stressing about using their snow days.

Some school districts, particularly in Northern Westchester, have already had to close three times because of inclement weather prior to the official start of winter on Saturday, Dec. 21. New York State requires students attend school for a minimum of 180 days, with four superintendent conference days allowed.

Hendrick Hudson School District in Cortlandt is among the schools that have closed three times.

"It's never easy to close school," Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter said. "Two of the three days we've gotten it right."

Hochreiter said he makes calls based on the weather outside and the information coming in. If the district burns through too many snow days, staff will have to come in during spring recess in April to make up the dates.

"When you're deciding to close the school, you don't think of how many days you have left," Hochreiter said. "That doesn't change a school bus from sliding through a stop sign or kids walking to school without a clean sidewalk."

Hochreiter uses his Twitter account to notify people about snow days.

"I had 220 kids recently start following me on twitter," Hochreiter said. "We can get the word out in 10 seconds now."

Yorktown and Lakeland school districts have each used three snow days. Yorktown has two left before having to tap into its April recess and Lakeland has three remaining.

Hastings School District said it has used one snow day and has six built into the school calendar.

Somers, which has four snow days in its calendar, has used two.

Mary Fox-Alter, superintendent of the Pleasantville School District, said the district has used two snow days. The district calendared for 188 days, giving them six to eight snow days left.

Unlike most school districts, Fox-Alter said they did not take a full two weeks for Christmas break, giving them more flexibility with snow days.

"That's what allowed us to create the 188 day calendar," Fox-Alter said.

Joseph Ricca, superintendent of the Elmsford School District, said the district has used one snow day, and has two more allotted. Ricca said safety is his utmost concern when deciding to close the school.

"We try not to think about how many or how often," Ricca said. "We take each storm one at a time and make our decisions based on what will be the safe and reasonable decision for our children and our staff. I would much rather err on the side of caution each and every time."

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Build more snow days into the calendar and there will be no stress. If they are not used, hurray!

Relax, last year by this time, week had already used up a week or more of snow days. Anyway global warming is ending winter, didn't you hear?