Area schools ponder snow make-up days

Students may be crossing their fingers for no more snow once faced with making up missed school during a teacher workday, holiday or spring break.

Manassas Park, Manassas and Prince William County school officials are considering what available days on the calendar could become make-up days for students.

“Our objective is to have school but, at the same time, we want to be able to make sure we can transport our kids safely,” said Ben Kiser, Manassas Park associate superintendent for administrative services.

Every school division in Virginia is required to have 180 instructional days. Each division chooses how many days to allot for hazardous weather conditions causing school cancellations.

In Prince William County, there is still one day left for snow. The division has always budgeted four snow days on the calendar and plans for it to be just enough.

“Here we don’t get enough snow that we would be out of school more than four days,” said Prince William County Superintendent Edward L. Kelly, noting four days has always been budgeted since he began serving as superintendent for the past 15 years.

If Prince William County does have two more snow days, then teacher workdays will be taken into consideration for students to make up missed school. The next make-up option on the division’s annual school calendar falls on March 31. The next teacher workday is Jan. 28.

In Manassas Park, school officials budgeted two days on the school calendar with hopes of a mild winter. However, after taking three days off for weather conditions, Manassas Park students will go to school Jan. 24, originally scheduled as a teacher workday.

If there is a need for more snow days, Manassas Park school officials have selected President’s Day on Feb. 17 and April 4 for make-up days. May 26 on Memorial Day or April 21, the last day of spring break, will be taken into consideration if more make-up days are still needed, said Manassas Park school superintendent Thomas DeBolt.

“Everyone is trying to hold on to spring break and not extend the year any,” DeBolt said.

Manassas school officials budgeted three days in the calendar and have used all of them. If another snow day is needed, students will make up school May 23. Any additional make-up day will be added to the end of the school year, beginning on June 19.

Holidays are reserved for families and Kelly said he has no plans of changing a school holiday to a make-up day.

“I just don’t see us having that much inclement weather,” Kelly said.

John Lensch, Richard C. Haydon principal said snowfall can become an inconvenience to the school’s instructional program; however, number one priority needs to be the safety of children.

“The child in all of us loves snow,” Lensch said, although he is ready for warmer weather.

Staff writer Jennifer Brennan can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 123.

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