Snow Days Not Cutting Into Summer — Yet

Posted: January 24, 2014

HARRISONBURG — Local school kids have enjoyed quite a few snow days lately, but they don’t have to worry about going to school in July just yet.

Although area divisions have each taken at least five snow and inclement weather days so far this winter, and have had even more delays, none are facing an extended school year — at least, not yet.

Unless a massive blizzard sweeps through the Valley and keeps students away from school for a couple of weeks, Harrisonburg City Public Schools will not have to add any days, said Superintendent Scott Kizner.

Harrisonburg’s school days are about an hour longer than what’s required by the state. That adds up to 1,134 hours throughout the course of the school year, which compares to the minimum number of mandated instruction hours of 990.

So, even with the five inclement weather days and six two-hour delays it had used of Thursday, Harrisonburg still has more than enough time banked away.

Rockingham County Public Schools are in a similar situation.

Assistant Superintendent for Administration Doug Alderfer said the school system has taken seven snow days so far. But, it won’t have to make up any days unless administrative staff begin to feel that students aren’t getting enough classroom time to learn material and prepare for the Standards of Learning tests. The SOLs measure whether students are meeting learning objectives determined by the state.

“We want to be sure that we give kids time in class with their teachers,” Alderfer said. “There’s a minimum amount of time that’s necessary for kids to be able to master the material.”

If the school system has several more days off because of inclement weather, administrative staff may ask the Rockingham County School Board to extend the school year.

The last scheduled day of school for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County is June 5.

At this point, snow days have not had a serious effect on testing. Harrisonburg High School had to adjust its schedule for SOL testing, but none of the other city schools has had to make changes because of the days off.

Rockingham County won’t start testing its students until the spring.

Contact Kassondra Cloos at 574-6290 or kcloos@dnronline.com



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