October Storm Impacts School Schedules

 

The leaves were changing color as autumn was breezing through the northeast. Children and parents were readying for Halloween. These plans, however, were changed by the October nor’easter  on October 29, 2011, when this monumental storm took many people by surprise.

            In the northeast, most snowstorms occur from December-March, when the leaves have fallen and people are then preparing for the holidays. The storm that swept through in late October caused damage all around the northeast. Downed trees and power lines scattered roadways while towns and cities went black. A possible reason for the extent of the damage, some victims of the storm suggested, was the fact that the trees still had leaves on their branches. With the added weight of snow and leaves, the limbs were not strong enough support them.

            The result was power outages across states including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut. Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) reported that more than 800,000 customers were without power. Businesses were unable to run and schools were shut down. South Windsor High School was turned into an emergency shelter for those who wanted a hot shower and a warm place to rest.

            After about six days, power was restored to most of Connecticut. The number of school days missed, however, became a new problem. Superintendent Dr. Kate Carter proposed a suggestion to the Board of Education on how to make up the days lost. “My proposal is to reinstate Thursday, February 23, and Friday, February 24 as student days.” These days were originally planned as vacation days. A cause for concern was the fact that winter had not yet started and there was still a possibility of more snow days occurring. Carter says that “if additional snow days occur, then the Board of Education would continue to move the calendar forward and adjust to each snow day.”

            Other factors played into the editing of school calendar as well. For Connecticut, schools need to end by June 30th and graduation must be after 180 days. The South Windsor public school revised calendar meets these requirements.

Each school district and region affected by the October-November nor’easter changed their own calendar based on what would work best for them. The storm affected numerous people across the northeast. It caused power outages, downed trees and damaged property. However, power has been restored and people and schools alike are recovering from the results of the storm.