New snow policy for kindergarten students wins praise

January 08, 1995|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,Sun Staff Writer

Harford school and teachers' union officials expect a new snow policy for Harford County kindergarten students to provide more equitable schedules for the morning-session children on days when schools open two hours late.

Morning kindergarten classes previously were canceled when schools had two-hour delayed openings. Now, students will attend school on those days, school officials said last week.

The morning classes will start at 11 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. Classes for afternoon kindergarten children will be from 1:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Regular kindergarten hours are 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The new plan evolved after the morning children missed 15 days last school year because of weather delays.

"It's absolutely acceptable," Jean Thomas, president of the Harford County Education Association, said of the plan. "Everybody's happy. The [school] transportation department can manage it. Children get their time. Parents are happy. And teachers are not running four hours ragged without a bathroom break."

The remedy follows an unpopular policy devised last February that called for the morning kindergarten children to start school at 11 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. Afternoon kindergarten would have run from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Mrs. Thomas said the concern among kindergarten teachers at the time was that there was no break between the sessions.

The policy, however, was never put into effect because there were no more two-hour delays during the school year.

"Teachers were reacting more to the plan" since it never was put into effect, schools spokesman Donald R. Morrison said.

The current plan is the result of input from school administrators, teachers and parents, he said.

"It's great," said Anne Heidenreich, a Fountain Green Elementary kindergarten teacher. "We will get quality time for both groups of children on those crazy days."

There will be no change in the afternoon kindergarten schedule or in the dismal time for morning students if there is a one-hour weather delay. And, if schools close early, there will be no change in the morning schedule.

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