Time to make up snow days
Times news file photo A school bus maneuvers through snowy streets in Tamaqua during a recent storm.
School children in the region have been back at their desks for a few days in a row now.
Meanwhile superintendents have been spending time struggling with rescheduling the days off to meet the Pennsylvania Educational Code to complete 180 days of instruction by June 30.
While none of the schools in the local area are seriously considering holding school until the end of June, there have been challenges to scheduling all the days.
For Weatherly Superintendent Thomas McLaughlin, only three days were built into the current school year for weather. Weatherly student have had nine days off due to winter weather this year.
"We've converted one in-service day into an instructional day and have made up one day," he said. "We're going to convert another in-service day in March to an instructional day and add any other snow days on to the end of school."
McLaughlin said that the schools were closed because of students' safety.
"It's always safety first for our students and our bus drivers," McLaughlin said.
Jim Thorpe Superintendent Barbara Conway isn't saying when Jim Thorpe will hold graduation or when school will end until the board meets on March 10.
Jim Thorpe has had 10 days off due to weather.
Palmerton Area School District had 10 snow days, 10 two-hour delays, and two early dismissals. The district has scheduled the following make up days: March 31, April 17, and June 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16 and 17.
Pleasant Valley School District canceled school 11 days so far this school year because of weather. The district has had eight two-hour delays and two early dismissals.
The district made up one day on Feb. 17 and is scheduled to make up another day on April 17. At this time, the last day of school for the 2013-2014 year is June 18.
Northern Lehigh School District has used the least amount of snow days with seven. The district also had 10 two-hour delays, and one early dismissal. Makeup days will be April 17, June 9,10,11,12,13. The district already made up a day on Jan. 2.
At Marian Catholic High School, five days were built into the school year. Students at Marian Catholic missed seven days of school. Students attended classes on Feb. 17 and will go to school Easter Monday to make up the two days. Graduation has been set for May 31.
To date, Lehighton Area School District has had 10 snow days, eight late starts, and two early dismissals due to inclement weather. With this in mind, the school district is currently working on updating the calendar in order to meet the requirement for minimum instructional hours for the school year.
According to Superintendent Jonathan J. Cleaver, the district has requested from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that Friday, April 18 and Monday, April 21 be designated as Act 80 days for teachers of the school district.
"Hopefully, we'll hear back from PDE next week and have it approved by the school board at next month's meeting," Cleaver said.
In addition, Thursday, April 17 will be a make up day for both students and teachers, with early dismissal scheduled.
At this time, graduation is tentatively scheduled for Friday, June 13. The last day of school for both students and teachers is Monday, June 16. However, any additional snow days may affect this tentative schedule.
Superintendent of Northwestern Lehigh School District Dr. Mary Ann Wright said that five days were built into the school district's schedule this year.
Since Northwestern Lehigh has already has 11 days off relating to winter, the school district has plans to make up school on March 14, which was supposed to be a professional development day, will now be a student day, plus there will also be school for students on April 17, the Thursday before Easter, she noted.
Also NWL students will also attend classes on April 21, which was scheduled as a professional development day, will be a full student day.
Wright said that any other days were added onto the end of the year. She noted that presently the last day of school is tentatively set for June 16.
"The board has discussed the possibility of having a half day of school on April 18, which is Good Friday, but that will be a last resort, meaning that there will have to be a full week of snow days before the middle of March," Wright said.
Terry Ahner, Linda Koehler and Michael Heery contributed to this report.