The academic year is nearing an end and many school districts in New Jersey are making the necessary final adjustments to their calendars to fulfill the state-required minimum of 180 days of instructional time, a task that has been made more complicated thanks to Superstorm Sandy


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After Sandy hit the state in October, many schools were closed for a week or more. A recent survey by the New Jersey School Boards Association asked districts if they needed to add days to the end of the school year, cancel previously scheduled holidays or take other action to make up the days.

According to the survey, 38.8 percent of respondents said they missed five days or less of school, another 34.1 percent missed 10 days or less while nearly a quarter said they missed three days or less.

Schools across the state used a number of different strategies to make up the missed days. Nearly 61 percent took action quickly and opened school on the November days when it is normally closed for the New Jersey Education Association convention for teachers.

About 44 percent canceled previously scheduled days off including Martin Luther King's birthday or President's Day while 40 percent of respondents said their school added days to the end of the year.

About 24 percent took away some days from spring break and another 21 percent opened school on days that were scheduled to be closed for professional development. There was only a small percentage, 1.3 percent, that did not need to make any adjustments to the school calendar.

"Usually we find that schools tend to try and make up the school days in the middle of the year rather than adding onto the end of the year because a lot of schools don't have air conditioning and it can get pretty uncomfortable the deeper you go into summer," said Mike Yaple, spokesman for the New Jersey School Boards Association. "Many schools build snow days into the school calendar. It's common to see about three snow days. After the storm, schools were lucky because we didn't have any serious blizzards or snow storns so they didn't have to take additional days off as a result. That helped a lot."