In his 18 years of teaching, Red Lion physics teacher Eric Wilson has never seen schools lose this many days from the wrath of winter weather.
As of Mar. 4, Red Lion has lost 12 school days this year due to the worst winter in recent memory, with some of the most recent cancellations brought about by the Nor’easter that dumped over 20 inches in parts of York County, the fifteenth storm this year alone.
Though the weather has been tough on local municipalities finding money within their budget to clean up the storms’ aftermath, it has also had a harsh effect on schools and how their teachers teach, especially with the May Keystone exams weighing on their minds.
Wilson’s most recent unit in physics on work and power was supposed to take two weeks, but because of the continuous cancellations, it took well over a month to complete.
While it has been a “very hard yet new learning experience” for teachers, Wilson is thankful that not only are there no physics Keystone exam, but also that the school board was able to change what remains of this years’ calendar to ensure that students will not be going to school until the end of June (June 30 to be exact, which is Pennsylvania law.)
On Feb. 6, the Red Lion school board met, proposed, and approved a calendar that would change the last day of school, pending additional cancellations, which at the time was June 13 to June 6, by instituting the following make up days: President’s Day on Feb. 17, a staff development day on Mar. 7, and Apr. 21, an extension of Easter vacation.
The Red Lion school district requires the district to be in session for a total of 182 days, but was amended to meet the 180 day requirement issued by the Pennsylvania Board of Education.
Should Red Lion see any more snow days through the remainder of winter, superintendent Dr. Scott Deisley said that they will think creatively, with the worst case scenario being adding 20 minutes to each school day. Going to school for a half day on Saturdays was an option as well, according to Deisley.
Despite all the concern over when the last day of school and graduation will occur, senior Katelyn Witmer said these cancellations have not increased her ‘senioritis’ at all. “Sure, the timing wasn’t great to have one of the worst winters we’ve seen in a while fall on my senior year, but I love snow and I wouldn’t change it at all.”
The continual postponement of graduation doesn’t upset fellow Chris Knorr too much either; “We can’t get mad about all the days off because we can’t control the weather...we are going to get out eventually.”
However, Chance Wonder is antsy about the graduation date, because he leaves for Army boot camp shortly after school ends. “If I lose my graduation after all these years of schooling, I’m going to be upset.”
At the Feb. 12 senior class meeting, Mr. Shue addressed the seniors anxiety over their graduation date, saying that the administration is trying to set their graduation date, but a decision cannot be made at this time.
Regardless of when the seniors will officially move on from high school and Red Lion, Wilson has said that the school district is in fact “doing [their] best to make sure all students leave with a proper education, hopefully on time.”