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Newton schools open during winter break, parents say learning "more important" than vacation

Newton students return to school on February vacation week
Newton students return to school on February vacation week 01:54

NEWTON – Students were back in the classroom Tuesday in Newton to make up for time lost during a lengthy teachers strike. Some parents said they have mixed feelings about their children being in school during what is winter break for the rest of Massachusetts.

Newton teachers went on strike for over two weeks earlier this winter, causing school to be closed for 11 days. As a result, students will be in the classroom this week instead of on their winter break.

Teachers said they are expecting absences because some families already had vacations booked.

Parents who dropped off their students for school on Tuesday told WBZ-TV the disruption to their plans is worth it to make up for the missed time in the classroom.

"I think all of us would rather be on holiday right now, but you know under the circumstances this is probably the best scenario possible," parent Colin Ward said.

"We'll do it some other time. This is more important," Doreen Rachal added.

Students who can't make it to class this week will be excused and will have until next week to submit any makeup work. One parent said it's important for them to make up the time either way.

"If you look at the big picture I think, though the timing is not right, it's something that it's needed. So you just do what you have to do," Jyoti Bhakta said.

For students who do show up, teachers are striving for what's being called a "valuable academic experience." Parents said some teachers will be doing material review or projects this week.

"I'm pretty sure that the teachers will find a nice way to get the kids fully back on track. Some extra homework or some extracurricular activity. I think it'll be fine," Ward said.

After this week, the district has seven more days of missed school to make up because of the strike.

"I'm not completely excited about it, but it's my duty as a parent to make sure that she gets the education that she needs. And she's missed a whole lot of schooling because of the strike, so any plans we had are canceled," Rachal said.

Bus schedules and start times will be normal this week. The school district said there may be delays because of substitute drivers navigating new routes.

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