Since it appears that most local school districts will be closing Wednesday for the third straight day, we were curious about how school calendars might be affected later in the year.
We had heard rumors that when the governor declares a “state of emergency,” as he did for the Superstorm, the number of days that schools are closed “don’t count” and do not have to be made up.
But this is not the case.
We checked with the state Education Department. School districts must have at least 180 days of instruction. Period. In fact, the state’s guidelines refer to states of emergency: “A declaration of a State of Emergency by the Governor due to adverse weather conditions does not authorize the school districts affected to operate an annual session of less than 180 days.”
So what does this mean? All school districts have a number of extra days built into their calendars so they can lose a few snow days and still stay above the 180-day threshold. When all the built-in snow days are not used — like last year, when we had no winter after the Halloween snow storm — schools are usually closed for an extra day or two at the end of the year.
Thanks to Hurricane Sandy/Superstorm, districts will, as of tomorrow, have used up at least two and maybe three built-in “extra” days. If we get some real snow days over the next few months and districts use up all their extra days, they may be forced to cancel a couple of days off later in the year.
That would be a much-delayed “trick” on students — on top of Halloween getting all but washed out this year.