Snow Day Dilemma: Time to Forget About Makeup Days?

There's a way around the calendar crunch for some snow days: a state waiver.

There's a way around the calendar crunch for some snow days: a state waiver. Patch file photo.
There's a way around the calendar crunch for some snow days: a state waiver. Patch file photo.
School districts across Northern Virginia are struggling to find makeup days for the big pile of snow days that have been used this winter. 

Should they take holidays? Teacher work days? Spring break? Weekends? Add extra hours to the school day? None of those options will make everyone happy, but there's a way to make things a little easier.

The state Board of Education can waive days lost in the aftermath of a state of emergency declared by the governor — like the snow storm the region weathered this past week.

Should districts have to make up this week's lost school days, or is it time to waive the makeup days and move on? Tell us in the comments below!

Charles Pyle, spokesman for the Virginia Education Department, told The Washington Post that districts must “show they have done everything reasonable that they could do” to make up the time.

The Post notes that Fairfax County schools received a waiver in 2010.

Laurie Dodd February 15, 2014 at 01:02 PM
With unchanging test schedules (AP, IB, SOL), add instructional days before May as planned. But extra days in June accomplish nothing. My two cents.
kathy brown February 15, 2014 at 02:58 PM
Yes waiver the make up days. They get too many days off for teacher work day, holidays that mean nothing to them, ex: president's day. I don't understand why teachers need those teacher workdays to do grading when its all electronic now. Do the waiver and move on.
Jennifer Rosso Jain February 15, 2014 at 06:51 PM
Don't take spring break out add to end of the year. Use work days or waive them.
john February 15, 2014 at 09:37 PM
They only start with 180 days a year [should be 220]. How can you waive from such a low base?
Bob Wallace February 16, 2014 at 06:55 AM
School? Who needs school? They can always get a government job or go on welfare.
Patrick J February 16, 2014 at 07:17 AM
Might as well waive them. Maintaining standards of accountability and responsibility is a lost cause these days.
Kris February 16, 2014 at 07:22 AM
One must remember how things have changed since we all went to school. No need to make rude comments. Why not try to find a resolution as opposed to putting in your nonsense remarks. I think finding suitable makeup days would be appropriate. So for those making inappropriate comments and had your own snow days, are you going to make up those days as well? Just saying.
Rick Young February 16, 2014 at 09:18 AM
Before next year begins they should make plans as to how to make up days lost due to whatever. I thought pre planning, to make up days, was already being done. Maybe the wrong people are in charge of running our school system????????
starlenemary February 16, 2014 at 01:19 PM
The days should be made up. The children need all the instruction they can get in order to pass all the required testing. Spring break can and should be cancelled to make up the last time. The half days scheduled for Teachers In-Service could also be eliminated. I think we've lost sight of what's important; our children's education should come before anything else.
Michael February 16, 2014 at 04:09 PM
Kathy, Only one day was a teacher workday. The other was a professional development day, when all teachers were assigned to workshops to learn about new technology, changes to SOLs, and other items required (many by law). The teacher workday is necessary because, even with electronic reporting, the process of assigning grades is necessarily a last-minute exercise. A final/average grade cannot be computed until the very end of the quarter. It must then be verified and entered individually for each student, and each teacher must enter hundreds of marks, waiting for the system to load after each one. The full process, done professionally, actually takes much longer than the 7.5 hours allowed on a single workday.
Michael February 16, 2014 at 04:15 PM
And if you're thinking about the fall days, those are used for parent-teacher conferences. Think 30 students, 20 minutes each - that's 600 minutes, or 10 hours of work, just to hold the meetings. Plus all the prep work required, and all the report card stuff as well.
Michael February 16, 2014 at 04:17 PM
Rick, There is a plan and always has been. It's publicly debated at School Board meetings and posted on the FCPS web page. This has NOTHING to do with the people in charge not knowing what to do. The problem being raised is, in a nutshell, some writer at Patch decided to stir up a controversy where none need exist. The plan is there and families were free to plan with it in mind.
Mama C February 16, 2014 at 08:44 PM
Making these days up is one thing, IF actual instruction will take place. Should that be the case, then spring break should be considered. If the thought is only to tack days onto to the school year with truly nonsense time in June....really what is the point? These snow days were all taken during a state of emergency declared by the state, and therefore can be waived by request of the school board.
Allison Deschamps Hyra February 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM
Could we maybe invest in snow removal tools that allow for us to function with a small 2-3 inch snowfall? I mean that's really not that hard, and clearly, year after year, is needed. Then we could still go to school...
mccoy swanson February 17, 2014 at 01:23 AM
So as a student. Yeah that's right a 17 year old who would like to give his opinions but is way to offended by the top comment. Will not post his thoughts. Thank you jack p for insulting all the kids who are not doing so good in school because they have problems with school. Jack p You don't know anything
Bambie February 17, 2014 at 10:23 AM
Tests, who thinks tests are a good way of measuring success? People who think life is a multiple choice test; every morning I see three bubbles above my bed they read, "A. Get up B. Hit the snooze button C. Screw work go back to sleep," Anyone else who went grade to grade taking a test that you HAD to pass or your life was over, and all anyone did was teach to the test; so you never got to know the fun stuff or do the cool science experiments in school because that was not going to be on the test? Rhetorical question. The answer is most of the comments on here from parents and adults who never had to take a SOL test, or one of the 40 or 50 standardised tests that take up about 1/4 to 1/3 of the school year.If they had they would know that you need spring break and those days off to process all that stuff you NEED TO KNOW, and because all work and no play makes johnny a homicidal kindergartner. Let us be honest there might be toys in the kindergarten classroom but they are there just to tease you, you have to much work to do to play with them. Not like the school you remember is it? Waver all the days you can.
Cee IheartNez Carter February 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM
Since they are not going to change the date of regularly scheduled testing I don't think that making up the days do anything good for the students. Unless these days can be made up in advance of the test (sol, ect) so my vote it to not extend school!
MomtoB February 18, 2014 at 03:09 PM
Most schools around the world have classes year round. We have 180 days and then aren't even going to make up the ten missed days. It's ridiculous. These kids need to be in school. Yes make up the days, go to a longer school year. Make Monday's full day, take away teacher work days and whatever else it takes. There were talks about starting before Labor Day every year - why didn't that take place? Our kids are missing out on education and they need to be in school more to make up for it.
Meg February 19, 2014 at 03:43 PM
Maybe schools should have thought of this before classes were cancelled. There's no reason kids can't go to school because of the threat of snow. And "storms" where we get 2 inches and classes cancelled are JOKE. And I'm sorry when temps are in the low 20's with windchills in the teens or single digits - that's what layers are for... wear winter clothing and dress for the weather. I have absolutely no sympathy for the kids needing to be in school longer.


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