Central Oregon’s school districts have to decide whether or not to make up the two missed school days, which could balloon into three or four after February’s record snowstorm finally sweeps through the region, affecting nearly 33,000 students.
Sisters and Culver school districts plan to make up the missed time in class, with Sisters adding extra days in June and Culver either doing the same or making every remaining school day a few minutes longer.
Bend-La Pine and Jefferson County plan on waiting out the stormy weather and then deciding how many days to make up, and how to make them up.
“We don’t have a specific formula,” said Bend-La Pine spokeswoman Alandra Johnson.
But Redmond doesn’t plan on making up lost school days, and if the snow clears by Thursday, neither does Crook County.
Redmond intentionally schedules more hours in the classroom than the state minimum — Oregon requires 900 hours per year for grades K-8, 990 hours for grades 9-11 and 966 hours for seniors — just in case of snow days, according to district spokesman Rainier Butler.
“Even if we call off tomorrow, I don’t think we would have any makeup days,” he said. “If we missed a week, that would be a different situation, but based on the forecast, it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case.”
In a year with no snow days, Redmond students would spend about 1,121 hours in middle and high school and 1,017 hours in elementary school.
Oregon students already spend less time in class than students in Washington and California, which both require 180-day school years. Oregon doesn’t have a mandatory amount of school days, but the average student is in class for a little more than 170 days a year, according to Marc Siegel, spokesman for the state Department of Education.
Bend-La Pine and Redmond school district’s average student spends more than 170 days in class, and Sisters School District reaches 170 days exactly, while Culver, Jefferson County and Crook County school districts are below that benchmark.
Culver School District, like Redmond, added extra minutes to its school year in case of snow days, said Superintendent Stefanie Garber. Because school was canceled for a third straight day Wednesday, she and the school board will choose between adding a few minutes at the end of each school day or tacking on extra days in June. Garber said she didn’t have a problem with either option, but felt that students and staff generally prefer adding minutes to each day.
Crook County Superintendent Sara Johnson said her district also had already included three extra days this year in case of snow, but if school is canceled again on Thursday, the district will consider other options, such as having students come to school during the parent-teacher conferences in April, when students typically have days off.
Meanwhile, in Sisters, the district has already added a day to the end of the school year in June, as its one snow makeup day was filled on Monday, according to Superintendent Curtiss Scholl. Although the district does have a two-week spring break in March and April, Scholl said eating into that would be a last resort.
“We have a lot of families that make substantial travel plans, and staff too,” he said. “It’s hard to eat into that, because people aren’t around.”
Although most Central Oregon students have only missed class this week due to the snowstorm, Jefferson County has already missed three days earlier this year due to icy or snowy conditions, making the potential amount of makeup dates hefty.
“We do not have snow days built into the calendar, but have asked staff and families to reserve at least the week after the school calendar in case we decide to make up these days,” said Superintendent Ken Parshall. “We really won’t know our plan until we can fully assess the missed learning time.”
— Reporter: 541-617-7854, email@example.com