Will students make up missed days?

May 4, 2009 2:55:16 PM PDT
Federal health officials say they will continue to make adjustments to their recommendations for school closures as they learn more about the virus and the efforts to contain the spread. The question on the minds of many teachers and parents is how will the students make up the missed days? [SWINE FLU: Symptoms, questions and answers and more]
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[TRAVEL ALERT: What the CDC wants you to know ]

It's back to work at Hamilton Middle School. The suspected case of swine flu tested negative, so school officials had no reason to keep the campus shuttered. Parents and students are now trying to forget old swine flu fears.

"I have confidence that the health department wouldn't let kids come back if something could be wrong," said parent Lori Anderson.

Schools are still being closed, like Horne Elementary in Cy-Fair ISD, which is shut down now for the week due to a highly probable case of swine flu.

Teacher's aide Sarah Ramos said, "We're wondering when we're going to go back to work, and if we're going to get paid."

While full time teachers will be paid during closures, a part time after school program aide at HISD's Harvard Elementary who is paid hourly wants to know what's taking so long. She also says she worries about classroom time lost and whether the district should make up that time.

"I guess I would have to think that they know what they're doing," Ramos said.

HISD says it has no plans to make up missed school days, much like it did following Hurricane Ike. Administrators tell Eyewitness News they will ask for a waiver from the state.

Gayle Fallon with the Houston Federation of Teachers said, "For some of our kids, they will have lost a month of instructional time when this is over."

Fallon says she understands how this late in the school year it would be difficult to adjust schedules and add days.

"Because of the timing that's pretty much the way it has to be," she explained.

Parents have said to us they wonder if logistical ease has taken precedence over fulfilling the promise of a complete and satisfactory education. HISD officials wouldn't go on camera to address that, saying only that it's not necessary to make up the time. Ultimately the state commission of education will have to decide whether the time must be made up.

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