While all students of the Cazenovia Central School District returned to classes on Tuesday, Sept. 4, only elementary students attended classes again on Sept. 5 and 6.
A water main break at Cazenovia High School on Sept. 4 caused district officials to close both the high school and middle school for the two following days. Cazenovia Central School District Superintendent Bob Dubik said he expects all classes to resume as normal on Friday, Sept. 7.
“At about 4:30 p.m. [Sept. 4] we noticed water coming into the basement of the high school. It was coming in at a pretty good rate. The Village of Cazenovia Department of Public Works immediately came in a shut our water off,” Dubik said. “A lot of the water drained down into the sub-pump, so there was no real damage. We had to cancel school for Wednesday, because of safety [concerns] for the students and staff. There was no water in the bathrooms and classrooms, nor was there available drinking water.”
Dubik said DPW workers dug a ditch the night of Sept. 4 and quickly acquired the necessary parts to fix the water main in preparation of amending the problem. However, health regulations dictate the water must be tested twice in a 24-hour period following maintenance — and repairs must be approved by a county health department representative — so the administration was forced to also cancel high school and middle school classes on Thursday, Sept. 6.
Burton Street Elementary, which is located across town from the high school and middle school, was unaffected by the water main break, and classes were held on both Wednesday and Thursday. High school and middle school teachers were asked to report to their respective buildings on Thursday, Sept. 6, while students stayed home.
Each year, the district allots about five “emergency days” for school days when classes are cancelled due to inclement weather or extraneous circumstances. So far this year, Cazenovia High School and Middle School have used two – while Burton Street Elementary School has used none.
As stipulated in the teachers’ contract, if less than three emergency days are used throughout the school year, both students and teachers are given an extra vacation day before Memorial Day. Alternatively, if more than the allotted amount of emergency days is used, students and teachers will be required to attend additional days at the end of the year.
“If we don’t use our allotted days, it’s not an issue. If we use the allotted days, the state says we have to have every opportunity to make them up,” Dubik said. “Depending on what the winter brings, we may use the allotted days, or we may not use them — and then it won’t be an issue.”
Dubik said the situation has gotten complicated, as elementary teachers have been instructing students for the past two days, while high school and middle school teachers have not. Whether or not elementary students and teachers will be given vacation days to make up for the past two emergency days at the high school and middle school also remains to be seen.
“I don’t know that answer right now.” Dubik said. “It will be determined after the winter, when we see how many total [emergency] days are used, and what we need to adjust.”
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.