Snow Days May Extend School Year

Due to a total of seven snow days so far during the 2013-2014 school year, MCPS now exceeds its number of snow days and may need to extend the school year up to three days.

The state of Maryland requires all school districts to offer 180 days of instruction. The MCPS calendar approved by the Montgomery County Board of Education includes an extra four days in its calendar to plan accordingly for at least four emergency weather days. The calendar also includes five “contingency” days on which school will be held if the county exceeds four snow days. These contingency days are added to the end of the year in order to meet the minimum required days of instruction provided by the state.

Because the county has now exceeded the four built in snow days by three, it is possible for the end of the school year to be extended past the original scheduled last day of school, Thursday, June 12 to Tuesday, June 17.

Many other counties in both Maryland and Virginia opted to hold a make-up snow day on Presidents’ Day, February 17, a day students usually do not have school. In Virginia, five counties decided to make up a lost day, and hold school. In Maryland, the list includes Charles, Kent, Queen Anne’s and St. Mary’s County schools.

Although the county has exceeded the number of snow days allowed, it is still possible that days will not be added onto the end of the year. Because both the snow days on February 13 and 14 were on days of a statewide state of emergency order, a waiver from the Maryland State Department of Education could grant to dismiss these days.

This waiver is not guaranteed as the MCPS school district would still need to apply for it. Though MCPS has received such waivers in the past, it is not guaranteed that it will receive one this year.

However, any additional snow days would mean the last day of school would be extended whether a waiver is granted for the two of the seven earlier snow days. According to director and spokesman of MCPS Dana Tofig, the last day of school will have to be moved back further in accordance with the calendar approved by the Board of Education. MCPS will not change Spring Break.

Adding additional days to the school year would be for the purpose of regaining the time lost in classrooms, but could interfere with summer planning. “I think it’s ridiculous to extend the year because the curriculum will already be completed by the planned last day of school. Any extra days will just be wasted with no school work,” said RHS parent Genevieve Woche.