Schools Decide How to Make Up Snow Days

7:01 PM, Mar 17, 2010   |    comments
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(WUSA) -- By Thursday, the major school districts in the immediate Washington area were back at school following last week's twin snowstorms. Now comes the question: how to make up all those snow days? Many districts used several snow days during the December, 2009 storm. The answer on making up the days depends on the school district and the state. 

Maryland requires a certain number of school days.  The State Department of Education decided February 23 schools could apply for a waiver of up to five days.  Each district must apply individually, and the state superintendent will make a final decision.

Virginia requires 900 hours of instructions instead of a certain number of days. Loudoun County and Prince William County schools report they have enough extra time built into their schedules to use 15 snow days and still meet state standards.


The District lost 4 and a half days of school because of the snows in early February. The first will be made up by converting March 19 from a Professional Development Day to a regular instruction day. May 17's parent-teacher conference day will also become a regular school day. Kids will also go to a full day of school June 18 instead of attending classes for the half-day that was planned. The city will use the designated make up days of June 21 and June 22. June 22 will be the last day of school. Summer school will begin Monday, June 28.



The Alexandria School Board has approved April 16 and May 28 as make up days. Those will cover the days lost in December. The rest gets a bit more complex. Starting March 8 and continuing through June 4, all students from kindergarten through Grade 12 will have an additional half hour built into the school day (10 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon. That means elementary schools will start school at 7:50am and dismiss at 2:55pm. There is one exception -- Douglas MacArthur Elementary will begin at 8am and dismiss at 3:05pm. Middle schools will begin at 8:20am and dismiss at 3:35pm. Both campuses of T.C. Williams High School will begin at 8:25am and dismiss at 3:35pm. The Department of Pupil Transportation will provide detailed bus information by Wednesday, March 3.


For elementary and middle schools, June 17 and June 18 will be full school days; school will dismiss two hours early on June 21 and June 22; and June 23 will remain a teacher work day.

For the King Street and Minnie Howard campuses of T.C. Williams High School, Graduation Day will be June 17 (with an 11:30am dismissal that day); June 18, June 21 and June 22 will be two hour early dismissal days; and June 23 will still be a teacher work day.

Mount Vernon and Samuel Tucker have their own modified calendars. 


Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy created a three-phase plan to deal with extended school closings. As of now, Arlington has used ten snow days. Phase One of the plan is slated to be approved by the county school board next week. It would take back the day off scheduled for Monday, April 5 (a planned grade preparation day). Middle school students would attend school Friday, March 5 (a planned conference day), and elementary school students would be in class March 4 and 5 (planned conference days). "Early Release Wednesdays" at certain schools would be canceled, and schools with a scheduled early release for March 10 and April 28 would have full days instead.

Phase Two of the county plan would extend the school day through the year. Phase Three would take back holidays like Memorial Day, Spring Break, extend the year, and add Saturday class time. Those phases would only be implemented if needed because of more snow days.


According to the master calendar used by Calvert County Public Schools, it has five snow days built in to the year. In the event of more days being used, which the County has done, additional days will be added to the school year. However, the county schools website does not give specifics at this time.


Charles County Public Schools have used seven snow days so far this winter. That is three more than it has built into the school calendar, which means the days off planned for March 29-31 will be used as school days instead. On the county school's website, Superintendent James Richmond writes April 1 will be used if the county needs another snow day. It is something Richmond predicts, writing, "Based on the weather patterns this winter, I am not certain that we have seen the last snowfall or school closing for this school year."



The Fairfax County School Board approved a plan to follow the official 2009-10 calendar, which includes using Monday, April 12, as a makeup day for a full day of school and using June 23, 24, and 25 as makeup days to satisfy the remainder of the four-day deficit for schools following the standard calendar; and using Friday, April 16, Thursday, April 15, Wednesday, April 14, and Tuesday, April 13, as makeup days for schools following the modified calendar.

The Board also gave Superintendent Jack Dale approval to seek a waiver from the Virginia Board of Education for one of the makeup days and any additional days that may be missed for the remainder of the 2009-10 school year.

For schools following the standard calendar, the School Board approved adding subsequent makeup days, if needed, on June 28, 29, and 30. For modified calendar schools, the School Board approved adding subsequent makeup days, if needed, on April 12, April 9, and April 8.


Frederick County Public Schools have used 11 snow days so far this school year. It allows for five in its master calendar. For now, the county is taking back the first two days of spring break: classes will be held March 31 and April 1. The school will also add two days to the school year, meaning students will attend class through June 14. That leaves two days remaining to be made up. At its meeting on February 24, the Board of Education will decide whether to apply for a waiver from the state. The county will also eliminate early-dismissal days planned for February 23, March 1, and March 2. However, this added time does not count towards making up snow days.


Howard County Public Schools have two "weather make up days" built into its schedule. Classes will be held June 22 and 23. Right now, the county has used more than its allotted number of snow days and built-in days. County leaders will decide whether to extend the school day, the school year, or seek a waiver from the state.


The Montgomery County Public School system put a contingency calendar in place at the start of the school year. Right now, the county has used nine snow days. That means the school year will end June 23, instead of the scheduled end of June 16. That does not take into consideration what will happen if more snow days are needed. That would require action by the school board and superintendent.


Prince George's County Public Schools have five built-in "inclement weather make-up days" in its school calendar. That means the school year will now end Wednesday, June 16 instead of Thursday, June 10. The four extra days may not be enough to make up for the snow days used in the county. Schools did not go back in session until Wednesday, February 17. According to the county's master calendar, there is a holiday Friday, March 26 (teacher grading/planning), and Spring Break goes March 29 to April 1. Those days could potentially be used for make-up days.


Stafford County Public Schools have used nine full snow days so far and missed three partial days. It will extend the school year to Tuesday, June 22, with the school year ending on a full day. Monday, April 19, previously scheduled as a teacher work day, will now be a full day of school for students. The following early release days will now be full days for students: February 26, March 23, April 2, May 28, and June 16-18. At a school board meeting planned for February 23, the school board will also consider adding time to the school day. Options include an extra 10, 15, or 20 minutes. Only the 20 minute option will allow all grades to reach the minimum state time requirement. Any schedule changes would take effect March 1.


Written by Dan Guzman


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