February’s record-setting snowfall brought life for Eastside schools to a halt. Parents, students, teachers have questioned how schools will accommodate for the school days missed due to the snowstorms. Most Eastside school districts have one to five snow days built into their academic calendar.
Lake Washington School District (LWSD) and Issaquah School District (ISD) have one built-in make-up day, Bellevue School District (BSD) has two, Mercer Island School District (MISD) has three, and Snoqualmie Valley School District (SVSD) has five.
Other school districts, including Northshore School District (NSD), do not have designated built in make-up days but add the missed days at the end of the school year.
Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency for the Washington snowstorms on Feb. 8, when the brunt of the snowstorms were forecasted.
The majority of Eastside schools were closed for five days, as well as two-hour late starts and early releases. However, ISD, SVSD, and NSD missed six or seven full days of school. By Washington State law, all school districts are mandated to have an average of 1,027 hours of instruction for students.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Chris Reykdal said school districts have the opportunity to apply to waive days that were missed while the state of emergency was in effect. Even if school districts are granted a waiver, they are required to meet the average total instructional hour offerings.
Some Eastside school districts have released their final plans to address the snow days.
For MISD, the district lost five school days in February due to inclement weather. The three calendared weather makeup days will now be regular school days. School will operate on a normal schedule on March 11, May 24 and June 21.
The district plans to apply for a waiver for the remaining two snow days through the OSPI.
“We will let our families know when the state acts upon our waiver request,” the district said in a press release.
High school graduation will not be affected by the changes and will occur on June 11, as scheduled.
For BSD, the district lost five school days in February due to the snow. As a result, BSD will extend the school year by one day. The last day of school is scheduled for Friday, June 21.
One additional makeup day will also be added on Friday, March 15. The day was originally a planned professional development day for teachers, but all students will now be expected to attend school that day.
“The district will request a waiver from the OSPI for the remaining three missed school days due to snow,” the district said in a press release. “Additional days could still be added pending approval by the state of the district waiver request.”
For NSD, where students missed eight school days, the district plans to adjust start times and extend the remaining Wednesdays to full school days.
NSD is requesting a waiver from the OSPI for five of the eight missed school days.
“We are still required to complete 1,027 hours of instructional time. Therefore we must make up the instructional hours lost from waiving five school days, as well as the remaining three schools days that we are unable to waive,” the district said in a press release. “To avoid ending the year in July, our plan involves changing the last day of school, adjusting start times and extending most Wednesdays to full days.”
Beginning March 11, school will begin ten minutes earlier. Buses will pick up students ten minutes earlier than their original pick up time and there will be no change to daily dismissal times.
March 20 and June 5 will remain early release days. All other Wednesdays will be full days. As with other school districts, there will be no change to graduation dates and predetermined school breaks. The last day of school is scheduled for June 24.
At SVSD, the district lost seven school days to the snow. The district plans to add two school days that were designated as potential make-up days on the 2018-19 school calendar and is requesting a waiver from the OSPI for five days.
The district plans to change the schedule for the remaining school year, such as converting 10 early release Fridays to full school days beginning March 29. The district also will add 12 minutes to the end of every school day, starting Monday, March 25, and extending through Thursday, June 13.
The last day of school will be Friday, June 14 for grades Kindergarten through 12. It will follow the district’s normal last day of school Early Dismissal schedule.
“This solution ensures Snoqualmie Valley students can recoup instructional time during the school year when learning time is most effective,” the district said in a press release. “At the same time, it works to minimize any disruption to the Mount Si High School construction schedule, which continues on time and on budget, to serve students next September.”