Board of Education Approves Calendar for 2021-2022 School Year | #Education

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – The Bridgewater-Raritan board of education has approved the calendar for the 2021-2022 school year. 

“The calendar is to go forward with the full board’s approval tonight,” said school board president Jackie Barlow.

At its previous meeting in January, the board had tabled the resolution regarding the approval of next year’s schedule because of procedural questions about whether the discussion on the calendar should go before committee or the entire board first.

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Board member Lucy Sandler said she was fine with the discussion going to the full board first, while member Lynne Hurley asked if the board was just dealing with new guidelines. Barlow replied that the board was providing new calendar guidelines to the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District’s administration.

Superintendent of schools Thomas Ficarra said he has been doing this “a long time,” and that it is important that “the board sets parameters we aim at.”

According to the approved 2021-2022 calendar, schools will be closed from Dec. 23, 2021 through Jan. 2, 2022 for winter vacation.

The board had previously discussed carving out vacation time somewhere between January and March 2022 because of the lack of a break between winter vacation and spring vacation. Board member Jessica Levitt said it was the first time talking about it, and added it was a “pretty significant change,” of possibly moving a vacation. 

One proposal was a “no homework” weekend from Feb. 18 through Feb. 21, 2022, with students having physically off from school on Feb. 21 for Presidents Day, and no homework assigned for those four days to give them a short break.

Spring recess will be held from April 11 through April 18. 

In all, there are a total of 25 weekdays on the 2021-2022 calendar where schools are scheduled to be closed, including holidays.

Board vice president Barry Walker mentioned possibly starting the new school year before Labor Day, in early September, and incorporating a few snow days into the mix.

Levitt said prior to the board’s vote that she researched previous academic calendars as best she could, but only found information on snow days as far back as 2011. The last snow day used was believed to have been in 2018.

Ficarra, who joined the district in July, said he doesn’t believe there has been any significant snowfall in this area over the last two years.

“If we were in session, we would have had three snow days (at the beginning of February),” he said of the heavy snowstorm that dropped close to 2 feet of snow in town.

According to the calendar, the superintendent can recommend opening schools on April 18 (the last scheduled day of spring recess) and May 31 (the day after Memorial Day), if excessive inclement weather takes place earlier in the school year. The superintendent could also close schools on May 6, June 1 and June 10 if snow days are not used.

Barlow said Ficarra had spoken with many individuals, and added that, in her opinion, the board should move forward with the proposal for a long weekend “with no homework.”

The calendar was ultimately approved by an 8-1 vote.

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