North Andover to Have School on Good Friday
Due to the high number of snow days, schools will be open during the religious holiday.
North Andover schools will have a half day on Good Friday.
The School Committee voted unanimously to add a half day on March 29 -- Good Friday, to Christians -- to the academic calendar. The measure is to compensate for days missed due to the sudden barrage of snow days brought on by our February and March snowstorm-a-week pattern.
State law requires 180 days of school per academic year, and the town is short one day.
"We looked at the calendar and there are no professional development days left, so that is not an option," School Committee Chair Laurie Burzlaff said.
The options were to have school on Good Friday, Memorial Day, a day during April vacation or a Saturday. Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson recommended Good Friday as the least disruptive day to have school.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday -- it's contractually feasable to open schools on that day, but School Committee members said it would be wrong to do so -- and people already have their April vacations planned.
Good Friday falls at the start of the third trimester, and students on the first day of a trimester are typically just handed information about their classes.
"Anybody who needs to miss that can easily be caught up the next school day," School Committee member Stan Limpert said.
And anyone who wishes to stay home and observe the holiday is allowed to, with an excused absence. There will be no tests given that day.
School Committee student representative Nick Cincotta said that he surveyed students and most said they would rather have a half day on Good Friday than go to school on a Saturday.
The Religion Factor
But as word spread about the potential of school on Good Friday, angry parents pushed back. The School Committee acknowledged many emails from parents opposed to the idea.
Observed during Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday, Good Friday is a Christian holiday that commemorates Jesus' crucifixion and death.
Good Friday is not a federal holiday. Federal buildings and the Post Office are open. It is a state holiday in 12 states, but not Massachusetts. It's usually observed with schools being closed in Massachusetts, and it's listed on the state's Department of Education website as a holiday, but there is no requirement for schools to be closed on that day.
This year, opting for school on Good Friday isn't very rare. Watertown's superintendent announced Thursday that students in that community would go to school on Good Friday to make up for snow days. And Andover's superintendent has recommended the same for Andover students.
So how exactly does a half day make up for a whole snow day? Guidelines mandate a certain number of hours and a certain number of days. North Andover schools are above the required hours but short a day. Having school even for a couple hours fills the day requirement.
If we have more school days, the School Committee might have to add even more unconventional days to the rest of the school year.
For complete details, visit: http://northandoverpublicschools.com/