Weather forces school systems to add make up days

Published 9:57 am Saturday, February 28, 2015

Due to the snow, J.P. King Middle School was empty on Thursday. -- Cain Madden | Tidewater News

Due to the snow, J.P. King Middle School was empty on Thursday. — Cain Madden | Tidewater News

Students in Western Tidewater will have to make up several days of school because of the recent snow and record-breaking cold, which may lengthen the school year or make students attend class on the weekend.

School districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia are required to have a minimum of 180 school days and 900 hours of instructional time, but area schools have already missed at least seven days of class — all in the past two weeks. Instead of using calamity days to buffer against unexpected closings, each school district must now figure out a way to make up the days missed.

Each school’s policy outlines how to handle make up days, but district administrators are unsure how to make up for the growing number of lost classroom hours.

Isle of Wight Public Schools had planned to replace a teacher work day and have students complete full days that were previously subject to early dismissal (April 1-3). However, the plan was made prior to this week’s inclement weather, and was pending future adjustments for that reason.

“We have yet to finalize our make up day plan at this time, but I will be sure to share that information once it is available,” said Kenita D. Bowers, coordinator of community affairs and media relations. “The hours that we previously had reserved equates to approximately three or four days, which is what saves us from not having to make up days missed last week.”

According to their policy, Franklin City Public Schools have designated staff workdays that may be used to make up for loss of instructional time, but they won’t be announced until school resumes on Monday. Superintended Willie J. Bell could not be reached for comment, however, the policy also notes that staff days will be rescheduled so that teachers can effectively manage their classroom.

Southampton County Public Schools, meanwhile, leaves the make up days to be scheduled at the discretion of the superintendent. Dr. Alvera J. Parrish said on Friday that the district “does not have a confirmed plan for the days missed at this point, in light of the recent additional snow days.”