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As Buffalo schools reopen, some districts stay closed

All Buffalo Public Schools are reopening today, though all extracurricular activities – including sports – will be canceled for the rest of the week. Evening Adult Education classes also have been canceled.

With Buffalo joining several other districts that reopened this week after the epic snowstorm that began last Tuesday, some now face the question of what to do about making up snow days.

The state education commissioner can excuse up to five days for extraordinary circumstances beyond a school district’s control, such as adverse weather or utility failure, a spokesman said.

However, the affected districts must first exhaust all of their vacation days before any waivers of the 180-day requirement for classes are granted.

In addition, the State Legislature could pass a bill giving special waivers to area districts, said state Education Department spokesman Jonathan D. Burman.

An update on area schools:

Alden

Alden Central Schools reopened Monday, and Superintendent Adam Stoltman said that if they surpass the allotted six snow days, there are measures that officials can take.

“We have specific days that, if we go over, we can use,” he said.

Buffalo

Schools reopen today and Wednesday before the Thanksgiving break, leaving one built-in snow day remaining.

After that, the district will likely convert May 22, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, into a regular school day, said interim Superintendent Donald A. Ogilvie.

Mayor Byron W. Brown said Monday that sidewalks at all seven city schools in South Buffalo had been cleared, and city crews were clearing sidewalks at all Catholic schools in South Buffalo and Kaisertown.

Prior to that, schools officials discovered Monday morning that ceiling tiles in the main office, a hallway and a classroom at Southside Elementary School in South Buffalo have been damaged by water leaking from the roof.

Roof drains at the Southside Parkway school became plugged with leaves and other debris following the snowstorm, causing water on the roof to seep in, said Joseph P. Giusiana, executive director of facilities for the Buffalo Public Schools.

A district spokeswoman said the Buffalo Fire Department inspected the school and deemed it safe, and Southside is scheduled to reopen this morning along with other district schools.

Depew

Depew schools will be closed again today. Officials announced on the district website that architects and engineers had inspected all facilities and deemed them safe, but that schools will remain closed today because of the lack of sidewalks, snow piles at intersections and the potential for flooding.

Staff will report for Wednesday’s previously scheduled Superintendent’s Conference Day, but students won’t return until Monday.

Eden

Eden Schools reopened Monday and remain open through Wednesday.

Both Wednesday and Dec. 10 were originally scheduled as days off for students, but now have been converted into regular school days.

Frontier

Frontier schools have been closed since last Tuesday and remain closed until next Monday while structural engineers inspect all school buildings and ensure their safety. Superintendent Bret Apthorpe said school officials will have to make decisions about makeup days.

“We’re going to look collectively at the school calendar and identify what days, if any, we need to take back, and we will also identify in the event of future snow days where we will look to on the school calendar, and then we will share that with the community,” Apthorpe said.

Hamburg

Even though Hamburg interim Superintendent Vincent J. Coppola made the decision to close schools until next Monday, he said only two days will be affected this week, since the district already had scheduled Wednesday through Friday off for Thanksgiving.

In addition, the district already has determined that Dec. 22 and 23 will become makeup days for students.

The district also will look at the school calendar and discuss further makeup days when school resumes.

Lackawanna

Officials did not return a call for comment, but according to the district website, schools were being evaluated for structural safety and the decision on when to reopen would be made after the process has been completed and after officials determine it is safe for students to travel.

Lake Shore

Lake Shore Central Schools are reopening today for all students and staff. Cleanup and recovery operations have been completed and all schools are back on the regular school schedule.

Orchard Park

Orchard Park schools are scheduled to reopen next Monday. District officials will meet to discuss adjustments to the school calendar when school resumes.

West Seneca

West Seneca officials said that all schools will remain closed until next Monday and that all associated school activities have been canceled, as well.

email: dswilliams@buffnews.com