Snow Days Could Mean Extending School Year, Slashing Spring Break
Now that we're in the heart of winter, school districts around New Jersey have to decide whether to close during snow or delay openings.
Part of the decision is figuring out how to make up the lost days in order to meet the 180-day school year requirement.
It's up to each school district to decide if they should close for snow, says Janet Bamford of the New Jersey School Boards Association.
She says superintendents reach out to neighboring districts, local police and check weather before making such a decision. That decision, she adds, usually happen quite early in the morning.
Bamford says in years past, most districts had built in three to four snow days into their calendar while others only allowed for one to two days. Many are expected to do the same in 2018. But once they exceed those days, they need to be made up to hit the 180-day mark.
"Some school districts take days away from spring break. A couple add days at the end of the school year, although that can be tricky if there's a high school graduation planned," says Bamford.
Another thing districts will do is cancel days that students were scheduled to be off for teacher professional development. She says the teachers are already in school those days so now it's just a matter of adding the the students into the mix.
Bamford says when it comes to deciding whether or not to close schools for snow, the primary concern is always the safety of the students, staff, bus drivers and parents.
But in order to make a 180-day requirement, "a day has to include four hours of pupil contact time." That mean a delayed opening does count as a school day, Bamford said.