Students in Fayetteville headed back to school on the Memorial Day holiday.
Monday (May 26) was designated as a snow make-up day, after severe weather forced the Fayetteville School District to cancel classes 13 times this winter.
After the State Department of Education waived two of those days, students in the Fayetteville district were required to make up 11 days. Some of the make-up days were on Saturdays or holidays, while some were tacked on at the end of the school year to meet the required 178 days of classroom instruction. Students originally were going to get out on May 30 but now will end the school year on June 6, officials said.
“I think people are pretty tired of snow days at this point,” said Alan Wilbourn of the Fayetteville School District.
Despite Monday being a holiday, Wilbourn said it was a teachable moment for students and staff to remember those who gave their life for our country. Some schools even planned activities, like Memorial Day themed assemblies, to educate students on the meaning of the day.
“It basically teaches them about Memorial Day,” he said. “We had the chance to explain the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day and talk to them about Memorial Day as we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.”
Students were divided about whether it was right to make up a snow day on what’s normally observed as a school holiday.
“I know some people who came to school have people overseas and had family activities planned,” said Dipto Mahfuz, a student at Fayetteville High School. “They had to work around those plans to come to school, which is OK. At the same time though, I feel like on a special day like this people should have the choice not to come to school.”
Other students said the snow days earlier in the year justified making the national holiday a normal school day.
“It’s good to finally get it all done and put it behind us,” said Michael Gordon, a student at Fayetteville High School.
Wilbourn said the absentee rate on Monday was about 36 percent. He said the district will follow their current polices in determining whether a student’s Memorial Day absence is excused.