Snow days costing holidays, work days

Students in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park school divisions may be losing teacher work days, holidays and portions of their spring break if hazardous winter weather forces additional closures.

This year comes into stark contrast to the 2001-02 school year, when not all snow days were used and Prince William County school officials considered releasing students early toward the end of the year.

There were no snow days left when Prince William schools closed Monday. After learning of the road conditions in the western parts of Prince William, school officials decided to close schools. The decision was made shortly after announcing a two-hour delay, said David Miller, associate superintendent of school services.

As a result, students may be making up school March 31 or June 19, teacher work days, said Holly Hess, the school division’s director of planning and assessment. School officials had not made a decision as of print deadline Monday.

Students may be making up school during Spring Break, April 14 -16, if the weather permits more school closures, Hess said.

Manassas students went to school two hours late Monday. However, schools closed Friday when the school division had no snow days left, from an allotted three on the school calendar.

Students will be making it up May 23, originally designated as a holiday before Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day is May 26, said John Boronkay, Manassas Schools assistant superintendent.

More school closings in Manassas may mean more school at the end of the year. The last day of school is June 18, meaning June 19 would be the next possible snow make-up day, according to the Manassas school calendar.

Manassas Park students went to school on time Monday.

“In looking in the weather reports today, no one predicted beyond a dusting of snow,” said Ben Kiser, Manassas Park Schools assistant superintendent. “We weren’t even thinking of closing.

“This winter has been very unique for us,” said Kiser. “Very seldom do we miss more than three days of school.”

Manassas Park school officials allotted two snow days and students made up one in January. Students have lost President’s Day, Feb. 17, to make up for their snow day taken Friday.

If more school closures come, April 4th, a teacher workday, would be the next make-up day, Kiser said.

After April 4, the School Board will have to choose between April 21 — first day of Spring Break — or Memorial Day before adding more school to the end of the year, said Thomas DeBolt, Manassas Park Schools superintendent.

“If this is anything like a normal year, we should miss another day and that would be it,” DeBolt said, noting he may consider adding another snow day to the 2003-04 school calendar.

Meteorologists at The National Weather Service’s Sterling office forecast that the area will be mostly cloudy, with highs in mid-30s and a chance of snow flurries tonight.

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