“Snow days” may force schools to add days to instruction year in June

By: 
Paul Garrod - news4garrod@vineyardpress.biz

    As area school districts have been faced with multiple “snow days”  in recent weeks, the Mattawan Consolidated School District has said that it would honor its upcoming mid-winter break.
    Mattawan Consolidated School Superintendent Dr.Robin Buchler said in a letter to  Mattawan families and staff, “What an unusual and cold winter it has been! I cannot remember missing this many school days in a row since the late 70s.”
    Buchler said, “Calling snow days is such a difficult decision but our student and staff safety has to remain a top priority, even as the days are piling up.”
    Prior to Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s “snow days” Buchler said K-8th grades have canceled school for eight days and the high school has canceled for nine days, due to closing one day for a funeral of a faculty member.
    “The weather forecast tells us winter is not over for Michigan, yet we hope that it does not cause any more school closures.”
    According to Buchler, Michigan public schools are allotted six forgiven days from the State of Michigan. School districts can request a waiver to add an additional three days from the State Interim Superintendent Sheila Alles.
    “Essentially, there are two directions this could go: 1) the waiver is granted and we do not have to add days; or 2) the waiver isn’t granted and we will have to add days,” said Buchler.
    Buchler said Mattawan will continue to have the scheduled one-day mid-winter break on Feb. 18, as well as March 28 and 29, before spring break.
    Buchler said at Monday night’s  Mattawan Board of Education meeting that “many of our families and staff have already scheduled and paid for family trips and activities during that time.”
    Currently, the last day of instruction is scheduled for June 13.
    Buchler said in the letter, “At this time, I am asking families and staff to please be flexible in June in the event we have to add days of instruction to reach the required 180 days.  We still have the months of February and March of possible inclement weather and may have to schedule additional days even if we are granted the waiver.”
    At Lawrence Public Schools, Tuesday, Feb. 12, marked the 10th  cancellation day due to inclement weather.
    In an announcement Lawrence Public School Superintendent Gretchen Gendron  said, “It is our intent to complete the waiver. Prior to completing the waiver, I am hopeful that Governor Whitmer and our legislators will make a statewide  decision to forgive additional days for all  schools, given the extreme weather Michigan residents have seen in the last month.”

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