The recent series of Puget Sound snow storms brought life for Eastside residents to a standstill. Local businesses closed, grocery store shelves were bare and thousands of Eastside students were kept from school for longer than a week.
Questions have circulated on how Eastside schools are going to make up for all the missed school days. Many schools have one to five snow days built into their academic calendar.
Snoqualmie Valley School District (SVSD) has five built-in snow days.
Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency for the Washington snowstorms on Feb. 8, when the brunt of the snowstorms were forecasted.
SVSD missed seven full days of school and saw one late- start day and one early release day.
By Washington State law, all school districts are mandated to have an average of 1,027 hours of instruction for students.
Parents of various school districts suggested canceling mid-winter breaks. Due to teacher negotiated contracts, which set the yearly district calendars, school districts cannot cancel or alter pre-set school breaks.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction 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.
“Most districts have a daily schedule that more than ensures they meet 1,027 hours even if they reduce their total days by two or three. When that can’t be achieved, districts will continue to meet their required hours by eliminating release days, adding days to the end of the year, or by any other means legally provided to local school boards,” Reykdal said in a statement.
As of Feb. 22, Eastside school districts have not announced official plans of how additional snow days will be made up.