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January 29, 2013

When is a two-hour delay not two hours?

(Continued)

The problem with this plan, as it turns out, is state regulations won’t allow that to happen. Since Amesbury High School lists 7:30 a.m. as its official start time across the board, there’s no way to finagle around that without the school falling out of compliance with the number of hours students are required to be in school by the state.

Hamond and Robinson got into more detail about other state requirements they have to meet, but the bottom line is the snow delay policy is the way it is for a reason, and changing it won’t be feasible without making a whole bunch of other radical schedule changes that nobody will like either.

That being the case, the school needs to enhance its communication efforts and figure out a way to reach all of the students and parents in a way that isn’t going to be ignored or overlooked, particularly by those who might not know better from past experience.

Besides consistent reminders over the PA system before and after school, the best way to do that is by specifically pointing out that class will start at 9:30 a.m. when making the snow delay announcement.

Something simple like: “There will be a two-hour delay for school opening tomorrow due to inclement weather. Amesbury High School students, be advised that first period will begin at 9:30 a.m. and there will be no A-Block.” It’s short, quick and doesn’t leave any room for misinterpretation.

If the student or parent just hears “two-hour delay” and hangs up the phone, that’s on them. At least in this scenario the school can’t be accused of not using every tool at its disposal to ensure that every student or parent knows when school is going to start.

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