Area schools consider options for making up snow days

After having to cancel several days of school due to inclement weather, local superintendents are looking at their options for making up the missed time. Big Rapids Public Schools and Crossroads Charter Academy have both added full and half days to their schedule before the end of the year, including on Feb. 18 and April 19, so all the make-up days are not in the summer. (Pioneer file photo)

MECOSTA, OSCEOLA COUNTIES — After an onslaught of snow, ice and arctic temperatures over the past several weeks resulted in multiple canceled school days, local superintendents are looking for ways to make up for the missed time.

According to the Michigan Department of Education, schools are allowed to cancel up to six days of school before districts are required to either add school time to the schedule or make a request for additional time to the state.

In addition to many school districts in Mecosta and Osceola counties applying for the three extra days allowed off from school, some are looking for other ways to make up the classes without adding them all onto the end of the year.

Big Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Tim Haist said the district will now be having a full day of school on Monday, Feb. 18, and Friday, April 19, two days which previously were not on the schedule.

Haist explained a survey was sent out to staff and parents/guardians asking them to indicate whether or not they thought students would be able to attend class on these days. The survey also asked about having school on Monday, May 27.

“We wanted to find a good way to make up some of the days without them all having to be in the summer,” he said.

The results of the survey indicated 94 percent of students could attend on Feb. 18, 91 percent could attend on April 19 and only 58 percent could attend on May 27.

Due to the necessity of having 75 percent of students in attendance for a school day to count, BRPS officials decided to add the days in February and April to the school calendar.

Haist noted the district also applied for the three additional days off from the state, and is waiting for a response.

Another school which has made changes to their schedule to make up for snow days is Crossroads Charter Academy.

CCA Superintendent Christopher White said the school will now have a full day on Feb. 18 as well, and a half day on April 19.

Surveys also were sent out to staff and families in the CCA school district to determine if students would be able to attend on these days, White said.

The results indicated approximately 95 percent could attend in February and 94 percent could attend in April.

Although some districts have been able to add days to their calendar before the end of school, others decided against this method.

In Osceola County, Evart Public Schools Superintendent Shirley Howard said the schools already had classes scheduled for Feb. 18, although many area schools did not, so it cannot be added as a make-up day.

She added students currently have April 19 off, but the school does not want to make the students attend class this day as it is Good Friday.

Howard said the original end date was May 31, however, the make up days will have to be added on after this.

Unfortunately, there may yet be more days the districts have to cancel due to weather, she said, noting no one can predict what will happen.

Haist said BRPS will continue to make decisions on canceling school based on student, staff and faculty safety.

“We always make sure we make the decision based on the safety of our students, and we will continue to do that,” he said. “Hopefully though, we will have more good days than bad.”

Chippewa Hills School District, Morley Stanwood Community Schools and Reed City Area Public Schools could not be reached for information regarding making up any days before the end of the school year.

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Posted by Taylor Fussman

Taylor is the cops and courts reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review newspapers. She can be reached at (231) 592-8362 or by email at tfussman@pioneergroup.com.

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