States Granting More Days Off To School Districts Due To Harsh Winter

A March 6 Governing article reported that in light of a harsh winter many states, particularly in the South, are increasing the number of days school districts can take off without penalty or make-up.  The article noted that States must balance public safety, cost, and educational requirements when deciding whether to alter missed day requirements.

States often give school districts a number of “calamity days,” which they can take off for severe weather or other reasons without penalty. The number allowed ranges by state. Many states also require districts to form a plan for making up instructional time if they exceed a certain number of days.

While it’s not uncommon for state legislatures to give flexibility to districts to make up days lost to snow or to relax the required number of instructional days, this year adds new geographic scope to state efforts. Georgia and South Carolina have acted to give districts breathing room, though in Georgia’s case the move came from the state board of education and gave districts broad authority to decide whether to make up snow days at all. Kentucky just recently took up a bill that would allow districts to waive up to 10 instructional days, and Ohio is considering a bill that would allow up to four additional days off for severe weather.