With 10 snow days and counting, Meramec Valley School District Superintendent Randy George said the district will add eight days to the end of the school year.

Initially, the last day of school was scheduled for Tuesday, May 13.

“As of today, (Friday), we’re projecting that school will close on May 21,” George said.

There is a chance that one or more of the snow days could be made up during the school year. George said he is evaluating the schedule and will have to talk it over with the school board.

The decision on whether to send kids to school is determined by more than the temperature, he said. Buses have to be running, on time and warm inside, and buildings have to be warm, George noted.

Meramec Valley has electric plug-ins at the transportation compound to keep its diesel engines warm, insuring that they will start in cold weather.

On Friday, buses were started at 4 a.m. to make sure all were running.

In the extreme cold, the heat also is left on in the school buildings.

“Normally we turn the heat down when the students are not in the building,” George said. “But in this extreme cold we keep the temperature up. We can’t take the chance that it would take too long for the buildings to warm up.”

The superintendent said the decision to call off school is all about student safety. Sub-zero temperatures and wind chill factors and conditions of roads are all considered, he said.

George said it’s a question of how long students would be subjected to hazardous conditions.

Missouri law requires that students be in class for at least 174 days for a school to receive all of its state funding. Schools have to make up the first six days that are canceled because of inclement weather.

After that, schools are required to make up one-half of the days that are missed, up to eight snow days.

George said the district may have to extend the school year later than May 21, if extreme cold, snow and dangerous wind chill factors continue.

“Even if we have to add a couple of more snow days, we’re projecting that we will be out of school by Memorial Day (May 26),” George said.