Snow days may be all snowball fights and sledding for students, but when class is back in session, administrators are faced with the task of figuring out when exactly to make up those days.
State law mandates 180 days of instructional time each school year. It also requires school districts to build three “weather-related makeup days” into their calendars. These are often holidays like Presidents’ Day or teacher workdays. If those days already have passed, school districts can extend the school year or ask the Legislature to pass a law “forgiving” the missed days.
After this week’s winter storm, all school districts in York, Chester and Lancaster counties have at least one snow day to make up; some have two.
Tuesday’s early dismissals and Thursday’s late arrivals don’t count as missed days because at least half a day was spent in school, said Mychal Frost, spokesman for the Clover school district, which will make up its snow day on Feb. 17. Chester County schools also will make up one of its two snow days on Feb. 17. Officials have not set a second makeup day.
Officials in other districts expect to set makeup days early next week.
School officials said they’ve received positive feedback from parents about the decision to close early on Tuesday and close or operate on delayed schedules Wednesday and Thursday.
“Parents are watching the news and watching what’s going on in Atlanta and going, ‘Now I get it,’ ” said Fort Mill schools spokeswoman Kelly McKinney. In Atlanta, icy roads tied up traffic for hours and thousands of students had to spend Tuesday night at school.
“It all comes down to the safety of people – and we transport over 13,000 students a day,” said Rock Hill school district spokeswoman Elaine Baker. “You have to make a judgment call.”
Rachel Southmayd • 803-329-4072