Snow make-up days considered

Published 11:31 am Thursday, January 18, 2018

Students in Charlotte County Public Schools were forced to miss several days of school last week due to the snowfall across the area Jan. 6 and 7.

Students missed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and attended school on a two-hour delay Thursday, according to Division Superintendent Dr. Nancy Leonard.

Students, Leonard said, would not have to spend additional time in school making the lost days up as of Monday. At that time, she said there is currently enough time banked in the division’s calendar to cover the days missed. She said five days are built into the division’s calendar within the length of the school days.

However, snow blanketed Southside Virginia Wednesday, resulting in additional days missed.

“We do this so our students have ample instructional time and our school calendar is not disrupted with trying to find make-up days when we have inclement weather,” she said. “By doing this, our spring break is safe, and families can make plans without worrying about losing spring break. We are also able to keep our graduation date and summer school schedules stable.”

Leonard said as division superintendent, she makes “the decision of when to close school, but I rely on road checks by our transportation department, use road temperature sensors, forecasts, as well (as) consideration for not only road conditions, but turn-around locations for buses.”

“I also consider closing schools when wind chills reach dangerously low temperatures,” Leonard said. “I am concerned for the health and safety of students waiting for buses in those temperatures.”

School divisions are required to provide a minimum of 180 days or 990 hours of instruction time each school year, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

According to a state superintendent’s memo, if the requirements are not met, then school divisions must make up the first five days missed and make up one day for every two days missed after that. This can be accomplished by adding extra teaching days or extending the school day, officials said in the memo.

“School divisions may use instructional time built into the school calendar that exceeds the 990-instructional-hour minimum or add time to the remaining days to offset the days missed,” officials said in the memo.