Because the cold, white stuff keeps on coming, the school year keeps getting longer.
This week’s latest round of inclement winter weather that forced classes to be canceled on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the St. Clair R-XIII and Lonedell R-XIV school districts has pushed makeup days to after Memorial Day at the end of May.
Originally, both districts were scheduled to dismiss for the academic year on Tuesday, May 20.
This week’s winter storm and subsequent school closings has pushed Lonedell’s cancellation total to 11 days while St. Clair is sitting at nine. Both districts scheduled six snow makeup days throughout the second semester, but because of the abundance of snow days now have had to extend the academic year.
“This has been a record winter in my career as an educator,” Lonedell R-XIV Superintendent Jen Ulrich told The Missourian on Thursday. “I have never experienced so many snow days in a school year.”
This week’s closings in St. Clair came during Courtwarming Week. Some related activities at the high school will be rescheduled later, sponsor and SCHS teacher Sarah Dierker said.
The state’s forgiveness formula now has kicked in, meaning that after the first six makeup days, districts only have to make up every other snow day on even-numbered days after that with a maximum of 10 days rescheduled.
Information shared during St. Clair’s January school board meeting stated that, “Once you have missed six days for inclement weather, you only have to make up half of subsequent days missed. The limit of days you would have to make up would be 10.
“In other words, you make up the first six days, the seventh day, the ninth day, the 11th day and the 13th day. Starting with the 14th day you are forgiven.”
The first snow day was called in both districts on Friday, Dec. 6. Lonedell also canceled classes the following Monday, Dec. 9, while St. Clair students were in school that day.
As the new year calendar rolled around, classes again were canceled in both districts on Monday through Thursday, Jan. 6-9, because of the major winter storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow on the area. The storm was followed by bitterly cold temperatures and strong winds that kept conditions unfavorable.
Lonedell also canceled classes that Friday, Jan. 10.
In both districts, the early January snow days came on the heels of the two-week Christmas vacation.
Then, after the first makeup days were scheduled in each district, inclement weather again closed schools on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Lonedell students had had their first two makeup days on the Friday and Monday prior, while St. Clair students were in classes on that Monday, which was supposed to be the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
“I’m sure that we would all prefer not to have so many snow days in a year,” Ulrich said. “However, if we are going to have them, the timing has at least been conducive to learning. The majority have occurred at or near the semester break. This will at least allow us to make up the semester as a whole and keep instruction as succinct and uninterrupted as possible.”
Currently, other snow makeup days in St. Clair R-XIII are Friday, Feb. 14, Monday, Feb. 17, Monday, March 17, Wednesday, May 21, Thursday, May 22, Friday, May 23, and Tuesday, May 27.
In Lonedell R-XIV, the makeup days are Friday and Monday, Feb. 14 and 17; Friday, March 14; Wednesday through Friday, May 21-23, and Tuesday, May 27.
According to district calendars, the last day St. Clair students could be in school would be Thursday, May 29. In Lonedell, the final day would be Wednesday, May 28.
St. Clair’s high school graduation currently is scheduled for Thursday, May 15. It was planned with the end of the academic year being May 20.
There have been no decisions made as to whether commencement exercises will be delayed.
St. Clair Superintendent Mike Murphy said he anticipates a decision about graduation will be made during the February school board meeting.
There is a chance for some additional snow this weekend, and temperatures are expected to remain on the colder side.
According to the National Weather Service’s St. Louis office, there is about a 50-50 chance of snow during the day on Sunday with a projected high of 28 degrees.
Highs temperatures on Monday and Tuesday are expected to be about 20 degrees with overnight lows in the single digits.
After Sunday, there is no snow expected through midweek.
According to NWS statistics, St. Louis officially has received 29.1 inches of snow so far this winter. That is about 14.5 inches higher than normal.