Local school systems quickly running out of snow days

WASHINGTON — Area school systems are quickly draining reservoirs of snow days for the 2015-2016 school year.

Some already have exceeded time available to allow children to stay home during inclement weather, while others have plenty of time left.

Here’s a roundup of how hard winter is hitting area school systems.

Fairfax County Public Schools

Thirteen snow days are built into the calendar. A total of 8.67 days having been used leaves the system with a little more than four days left (26 hours). If 15 days are missed, April 22 will be a makeup day. No makeup day is required for 16 days missed.

Montgomery County Public Schools

By taking off six days for inclement weather, Montgomery County has already exceeded the four days built in its school calendar. No decisions have been made yet regarding makeup days, but spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala says the contingency plan traditionally has been to add days to the end of the school year — unless the state approves a waiver.

If MCPS close for three additional snow days, a contingency calendar already approved by the school board would have kids in class as late as June 24.

Prince George’s County Public Schools

Using seven snow days so far this school year puts PGCPS well past its allotted four. Make-up days have yet to be determined. “Let’s get though with these months of winter to see how much we use,” says spokeswoman Sherrie Johnson.

One snow day already was been accommodated by sending kids to class on a previously scheduled professional development day for teachers Feb. 12. Johnson says other contingencies might involve asking for a state waiver or adding on to the end of the school year.

D.C. Public Schools

D.C. schools have closed two days this year because of inclement weather. June 16 will become a full day and June 17 will become a half-day with dismissal at 12:15 p.m. The Professional Development day for teachers will not be rescheduled.

If D.C. uses a third snow day, May 23 and June 16 will become full days and June 17 will become a half-day with dismissal at 12:15 p.m. Neither the Professional Development day nor the Parent-Teacher Conference day will be rescheduled.

Prince William County Public Schools

“Winter weather has been rough,” Irene Cromer concedes. But the school system’s supervisor of community relations says PWCS planned ahead. “After the Tuesday, Feb. 16 Code Red, we still have 23.5 hours (about 4 days’ worth), before falling below state requirements for instructional time.”

This year, snow makeup days built into the calendar that remain are April 18 and June 20.  Using a third makeup day in June would extend the length of the school year by one day.

Loudoun County Public Schools

Extended school days have allowed Loudoun schools to build 15 extra days into the calendar. Spokesman Wayde B. Byard says the extra instruction time has allowed county schools to work on a fixed calendar since 1991. There are no provisions for missing more than 15 days because of snow.

Arlington Public Schools

Arlington schools have used eight of 10 snow days built into the calendar. If all snow days are used, schedules will be adjusted for schools to meet the 990 hours of instruction Virginia requires. In the past, spokesman Frank Bellavia says early release days were changed back into regular school days and teacher work days turned back into school days.

Alexandria City Public Schools

Alexandria allows for eight snow days. One is left. If nine or more days are missed, spokeswoman Helen Lloyd says total instructional hours will be reviewed to determine if additional minutes need to be added to meet state requirements.

Howard County Public School System

Schools have been closed eight days so far this winter in Howard County, and only six inclement weather makeup days for possible use were added to the end of the school calendar. As it stands now, it appears children will be in class at least as late as June 16.

“After we feel we have put the chance of snow storms behind us, we will see what flexibility remains in the current calendar,” spokesman John White says of potential contingency plans. “We may request a waiver from the state for a certain number of days.”

Anne Arundel County Public Schools

The school system built in five days for inclement weather, and has used four. It has one remaining. The first two days of the blizzard were a semester break for students and did not impact inclement weather days.

If it goes past five snow days, the school system will have conversations with the state school board about waivers (including the possibility of opening on Easter Monday).

Charles County Public Schools

Charles County Public Schools has six days built in for inclement weather, and as of today, it has used five. It  has one remaining. “We will have to look at options, including the possibility of using additional days at the end of the year,” said schools spokeswoman Katie O’Malley-Simpson. “This year, we added two additional inclement weather days and shortened the scheduled amount of days for Spring Break.”

It’s possible the county school system could ask the state for a waiver of any days over its reserve; however, that option is never a guarantee. Last year, officials took days from spring break and sometimes it has used Presidents Day.

Calvert County Public Schools

Calvert has five snow days built into its calendar, said schools spokeswoman Cathy Page. So far, it has used five days. The schools made up one snow day on Feb. 10, which was a professional development day. The school system has one snow day remaining.

Manassas City Public Schools  

The school system has lost seven days of instructional time due to winter and inclement weather. It has a balance of roughly 19 hours (or 3.25 days) left before it would fall below state required instructional hours.

If the remaining time left is utilized, spokeswoman Almeta Radford says the district’s school board would review the current calendar to see what the most feasible make up schedule would be.

Spotsylvania County Public Schools

Spokesperson Rene Daniels said the school system has missed six days of school but was able to make up one day.

Inclement weather days are made up in this order:

  • Day 1: Feb. 1
  • Day 2: Feb. 15
  • Day 3-7: will not be made up
  • Day 8: April 15

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

© 2016 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up