Flexibility was warranted

Published 12:33 am Sunday, February 2, 2014

Nothing in life is free, not even snow days.

Although the Suffolk Public Schools system had two snow days built into its schedule this year to give administrators the ability to close schools for weather-related reasons without worrying about make-up days, those two days have already proven to be completely inadequate to the winter situation Suffolk has faced this year.

Even though the calendar has barely flipped into February, students from Suffolk’s public schools already have missed six days of classes. The resulting four days that were unaccounted for in the system’s schedule meant Suffolk needed to find a way to literally make up for lost time.

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With so many days of state-mandated instruction lost to snow and ice, nobody was going to be especially happy with the decisions that were made. Assuming no more make-up days needing to be scheduled, students will now find themselves at school on two normal holidays, a former professional development day and a day that had been scheduled for parent-teacher conferences.

The holidays — Presidents Day and Memorial Day — could be especially frustrating for students and their parents, but the main alternative would have had students attending classes on a Saturday, and it’s likely most folks would have been even less happy with that scenario. In fact, when the possibility of Saturday classes was considered after January’s first snow storm, administrators heard from folks all around the city who asked them to reconsider. When the second storm canceled another three days of classes, administrators made a good choice in bad circumstances.

Anybody who has lived in Hampton Roads for long will recognize that winter could very well rear its head again and dump even more snow on the area. If that happens, all bets are off regarding Saturday classes.

For now, though, Suffolk’s school officials deserve credit for having been responsive to the concerns of teachers, parents and students by exhibiting some flexibility in the school system’s schedule.