School districts are being forced to alter schedules because they are running out of snow days.
Fort Ann Central School District originally was going to have a half-day superintendent conference day on Friday. However, because of the number of snow days the district has used this year due to inclement weather, the district canceled that half day for staff and are planning a full day of school.
The district said it needs to make the change because the number of snow days has reduced the contact time with students.
Other districts are facing the same situation.
Salem Central School is shortening spring break. Instead of giving students Good Friday off, it will now be a half day of school.
With this week’s storm, many school districts did not have to cancel for the day, but were able to get a half day of instruction in Wednesday and had a delayed opening on Thursday.
Queensbury school officials still have a little wiggle room. Superintendent Douglas Huntley said if the district has to take another snow day, there would be school held on the Friday before Memorial Day, which is currently a scheduled day off. If the district is forced to cancel school for a second time, officials could change a professional development day scheduled for the last day of the school year into a regular day of instruction.
A year ago, state education officials sent out a memo clarifying that certain half days did not count toward the state’s 180-day minimum. The memo said half days for elementary school students cannot count when they fall on or before Regents exam days or before vacations. Also, the department said schools can have four shortened days each semester for staff development or parent-teacher conferences, as long as the minimum weekly hours of instruction are met — 25 hours for elementary schools and 27.5 hours for secondary schools, including lunch.
Districts scrambled to adjust their end-of-year schedules and had that guidance in mind in planning the 2017-2018 schedule.