Snow is causing changes in school calendars - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Snow is causing changes in school calendars

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

School districts all over Central Virginia are taking a close look at their calendars. Some schools are running out of snow days. Time missed due to last week's winter weather finds districts calling students back to class on days they were scheduled to be off.

School leaders say they track inclement weather very closely. That's because the state requires students be in class for a certain amount of hours, so when bad weather comes, districts all over the area have to be two steps ahead.

Every student probably loves those two magic words – "no school".

"They are in the window. 'Let's go outside and play. Let's go outside and play'," Lakeisha Williams said describing her children.

School leaders say when bad weather hits, they have no choice sometimes but to cancel class.

"We want to continue with the continuity of instruction but also we have to balance that with the safety of our students and the safety of our staff," said Felicia Cosby of Richmond Schools.

The state requires all public schools offer 990 hours of instruction a year.

"That's the minimum. What we have built into our system, we have 1080 hours," Cosby said.

That's 90 extra hours Richmond students are scheduled to be in school.

Cosby says that can come in handy if the district has to cancel so many days of school, like the four days students missed last week due to snow.

"Absolutely because they're already banked in," she said.

However, Hanover Schools have already used all of the days it had reserved as "banked days". The district will have to call students back on days currently scheduled as student holiday if there are any more snow days.

Petersburg Schools do not have "snow days" built into its calendar. It's making up last week's snow days on January 31, a day originally scheduled as a day off.

This week, Hopewell Schools made up two of the three days students missed last week.

Despite the inconvenience of a fluctuating school schedule, Williams says she understands the importance of keeping the students safe.

"It could be another driver out on the street that is not taking the conditions as serious as they should," she said.

Tuesday, Henrico and Chesterfield schools made the call early to cancel after-school activities in expectation of the snow. Districts say it's a case by case basis when they make the call to keep students home.

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