Are Virginia Students Getting Too Many Snow Days?

RICHMOND (WRIC)—In the wake of Tuesday's snowfall, classes have been cancelled for the third day in a row for many Central Virginia schools.

By Thursday afternoon, students will have missed 24 hours of class time this week. Two weeks ago, a polar vortex caused many schools to open late. A lot of instructional hours have been missed due to inclement weather this month; the question is, does that time need to be made up?

“I wish it was no school all week,” said a young sledder enjoying the time off.

Her wish just might come true. Most students haven't been to school since Friday, Jan. 17. Students had Monday off in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and have had snow days on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

In Northern Virginia, Loudoun County Public Schools announced Wednesday evening that classes would be cancelled for the remainder of the week. Many students here in Central Virginia are hoping for the same.

“It wasn't like that when I went to school,” said Tharrin Akers, who lives in Henrico County.

Henrico resident Katelyn Akers said, “I told my sister earlier, ‘Y'all are gonna be going [to school] in July with all these cancellations and the two-hour delay[s].'”

Virginia state law requires that students receive 990 instructional hours each year. Up in Fairfax County, the school district's three allotted snow days have already been used up this year, and students must attend classes on President's Day as a make-up. But even with this week's three snow days, school districts in the Richmond area still have snow days to spare.

“Our instructional day, every day, is longer than what the state requires, and that extra time accumulates,” said Andy Jenks, director of communications and public relations for Henrico County Public Schools. “We'd have to be off school for another two weeks before that even becomes an issue; we'd have to lose many more days before we'd start to consider that.”

Should an excess of snow days become an issue in Chesterfield County, school days may be extended to make up for missed time. In Henrico County and the City of Richmond, Monday, Feb. 17, President's Day, has been built in as a make-up day.

With no make-up days scheduled yet, local students are happy and others are left wondering why.

When asked if he thought area children should have to make up this week's snow days, Tharrin Akers said, “When I went to school we had to.”

Katelyn Akers said, “Yeah, ‘cause yesterday they sat at home all day and didn't do anything.”

 

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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