By Ron Sanders, WBZ-TV

HAMILTON (CBS) — High school hallways are half-empty between classes. Some classrooms are nearly empty as about 60 teachers and 600 of the Hamilton-Wenham School District’s 1,976 students are absent.

While school vacation week is being used to make up days lost when crews cleared snow from school roofs in the district, the superintendent says he’s confident students are learning in classrooms he visited.

“I’m very impressed. I’m very happy with what I see, and I can say with total confidence we’re carrying on education,” observed Supt. Raleigh Buchanan, PhD.

WBZ-TV’s Ron Sanders reports.

“I think it’s great. I think they’re going to get a great education this week because there are fewer students,” says parent Anya Goodridge. Her family had no vacation plans. Others who did are allowed excused absences but must make up work and exams.

“At first, I was a little bummed out because we had a week planned away up in New Hampshire skiing,” said parent Amy Waterman. “We’re doing two days of school and then going north now to ski. So, I’m o.k. with it. It is what it is and I feel like the town handled it as best they could.”

Some teachers and students are making the best of their school stay-cation week by having theme days with corresponding apparel.

“We said, ‘How can we make the week, since we’re going to be here, we’re not in Florida, we’re not skiing in the mountains, how can we make this a little more enjoyable for everybody, raise morale, lift school spirit?” explained biology and anatomy teacher Deborah Clapp.

Wednesday was “Floridian Vacation Day.” Thursday is “Alpine Holiday” — appropriate to the dilemma in which the school system finds itself.

Comments (2)
  1. Nab71 says:

    This was a bad idea from the beginning. Even with their new calendar school closes on June 24, leaving another week in June for possible makeup. In the future, the district, and all school districts should make it clear to students, parents and teachers that the school year could extend to the last day of June and there would be no excuses given for people who make plans before that date. I know when I was teaching we went until the 28th or 29th at least four times. Plan for worst case, not best case.

  2. KMS978 says:

    I think the leaders of the Hamilton-Wenham School District made a very wise choice when they decided to put our children’s safety first. While other districts may have been lucky that their school roofs, fingers crossed, had not collapsed, we are fortunate that our school leaders truly cared enough about our kids and pro-actively cleared the snow, despite parental complaints about spoiled vacations. My son has been learning and has spent his evenings doing homework. I know that several teachers cancelled their planned vacations to be at school. As New Englanders, we cannot always plan for what Mother Nature has in store for us. Sometimes we just have to roll with it. Kudos to the administration and teachers at HWRSD!

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