Schools have reached maximum snow days…now what?

Schools may need to have class on religious holidays or cancel professional development days for teachers

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Many Western Massachusetts school districts have already used all 5 of their allotted “snow days” for the year, and winter isn’t over. Superintendents told 22News what happens when schools need to close because of the weather even after they’ve used all their snow days for the season.

Superintendent of Springfield public schools Daniel Warwick told 22News, “Snow days are the bane of every superintendent’s existence”. Especially when schools have used up all of their snow days.

22News called every school district in Hampden County to find out how many snow days they’ve used. Nearly all of the districts have used the maximum amount of snow days for the school year. Schools in the Commonwealth have to add 5 days into their calendar year to accommodate for any of the snow days during the winter. Many of the school districts here in western Massachusetts have used all 5 of those snow days, but at the same time, those in the eastern half of the state have used even more.

State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester said schools may need hold classes on religious holidays or cancel professional development days for teachers. The Commissioner suggests using days from April vacation rather than extending the school day.

Superintendent Warwick agrees with the Commissioner. “I think that you’re better off making the change now in the schedule and going into April if you have to, if you haven’t done anything else, than it is those days in late June because I think they’re very unproductive school days for kids”

Other superintendents, however, disagree. Superintendent of Agawam public schools William Sapelli told 22News, “How much quality education is going to be going on then if a good majority – good percentage of the people, staff and students – are not here because they’ve already scheduled vacations, and now you’re pulling that back.”

Commissioner Chester suggests school districts consider starting the next school year before Labor Day, or consolidating February and April vacations into one week in March.

The following school districts have used all 5 of the allotted “snow days” this year:

The following school districts have used 4 of the 5 allotted “snow days” this year:

 

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