Some DC-area schools are out of ‘snow days’

WASHINGTON — Two county school systems have already exceeded the amount of days budgeted for emergency cancellations due to weather.

But an unofficial poll of area school systems shows many still have days to spare for the rest of winter.

There have been three emergency cancellations this school year at Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. Because only two days had been added to their required 180-day calendar of instruction, students will have to make up the time. The first scheduled makeup day will happen June 14. If an additional makeup day is needed, it will take place June 5.

In Howard County, Maryland, the district used the fourth of four days it allowed in the school calendar for inclement weather.

“The final day of school was originally scheduled to be Monday, June 17, with the 18-21 being designated as possible makeup days. Now that we have used all four of those makeup days, the last day is now officially Friday, June 21,” spokesman Brian Bassett said in an email.

“Should any additional days be required, the Board of Education will have public discussions on how to proceed,” he said, “whether it’s appealing to the State Board of education for forgiveness or making an adjustment to the academic calendar.”

Others have days to spare

Even with seven closures, five delayed openings and one early release as of Monday, Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia still have more than two weeks of snow days left this school year. The district built about 19 days’ worth of snow cancellations into its calendar.

“PWCS still has over 10 days’ worth of hours remaining before we would fall under the state minimum requirement,” the system’s website states.

Fairfax County, Virginia, public schools have canceled school four times and had several days of delayed openings with 12 snow days built into their calendar, spokesman John Torre said in an email.

At Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland, “We’re all just wishing for warmer temperatures, I think is the universal cry at this point,” said spokesman Bob Mosier. “It’s certainly been an interesting couple of weeks for us and for schools around the region.”

Anne Arundel County built into its school calendar two snow days and an additional third day that’s currently reserved as a parent-teacher conference day.

“We have used one day so far. We’ve been very lucky,” Mosier said. “On a day of inclement weather a couple weeks ago, we had a pre-scheduled semester break day, so we didn’t have students in class. And we’ve been able to get by with delayed openings these last couple [events].”

Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia have no formal snow days, but spokesman Wayde Byard said enough hours have been built into their calendar to accommodate 15 canceled days of instruction. So far, five days have been used.

Charles County Public Schools in Maryland have used one snow day out of four emergency closing days that were built into the school year’s calendar. “If the days are not used, they will be deducted from the June closing date as follows: June 14, 13, 12 and 11,” spokeswoman Katie O’Malley-Simpson said in an email.

In Fairfax County, however, a winter season free of snow days does not impact when the year ends for public schools and summer break begins.

“The current FCPS planned school year exceeds the 990 hour state requirement because of the length of the student day,” the system’s website explains. “There is no means for days to be given back at the end of the year because those additional “days” are simply the excess time beyond 990 hours and, if the days were given back, FCPS would fall short of the required 180-day school year.”

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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