, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 29, 2013

When is a two-hour delay not two hours?


Not so at Amesbury High School. Despite the fact that a large portion of the student body considers 8 a.m. to be the start of their school day, the school officially lists 7:30 a.m. as its start time because of A-Block and uses that as its snow delay benchmark. AHS also eliminates A-Block on snow-delayed days, so it expects everybody to be at school at 9:30 a.m. for the start of first period.

But if you’re a freshman, or a student who hasn’t had a snow delay since middle school like a sizable portion of the high school’s student body, then there’s a good chance you wouldn’t know that, and your reasonable assumption would probably be that a delayed start would mean the bell ringing at 10 a.m.

Principal Roy Hamond speculated as much last week, pointing to the fact that last year there was hardly any snow and the year before there was so much that school was usually canceled outright.

That being said, the school’s snow delay policy is in the student handbook, and Hamond has reminded parents of the policy recently in his monthly newsletter. So it’s not like the school hasn’t attempted to get the word out.

Regardless, the message didn’t get through, and it will be up to Hamond and Superintendent Michele Robinson to make sure adjustments are made so something like this doesn’t happen again. The reality is the snow delay policy contradicts common sense practice, so the school will have to go the extra mile to make sure everyone is on the same page.

The most sensible solution on paper would be to change the school’s snow delay policy so a two-hour delay actually means a two-hour delay. By that I mean have class start at 10 a.m., two hours after normal.

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