It was a very short week for students in the Washington School District.
The district was in session Monday, but classes were called off Tuesday due to a winter storm blowing in that day and the resulting snow-packed roads and bitter cold temps kept the district closed the rest of the week.
The district’s snow day count now stands at 11 this school year.
“And there’s a whole lot of winter left,” said a frustrated Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer.
“I’m not sure if this is a record for us, but it has to be close,” she said.
Washington is not alone. Many school districts in Franklin County and around the state have been forced to call off classes this week, including the University of Missouri-Columbia and public schools in Kansas City and Springfield.
VanLeer said it’s a combination of poor road conditions, particularly across the river and on secondary roads, as well as the Arctic air that kept the district shuttered.
“There are many factors, especially with the large number of buses we run,” she said. “Even if the roads improve, the buses may not be running on schedule and that means kids standing at bus stops in these frigid temps. And if we have a bus break down, that creates even more issues.”
The mounting snow days mean school officials will take another look at the school calendar to make adjustments.
Prior to this week’s snowstorm, the district had already announced students would be in session Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 17, as well as Thursday, April 17, shortening Easter break, and the last day of school would be Friday, May 30.
VanLeer said additional calendar adjustments will be discussed Monday during her cabinet meeting with administrators.
After six snow days, the state’s forgiveness rule kicks in, which means subsequent snow days only count for a half day that must be made up during the academic year.
“Basically for every two days missed, you make up one day,” VanLeer explained, “but we’ll have to look at everything, including the curriculum that needs to be delivered.
“Plus I don’t know how many more days we could miss. Looking at the long-range weather forecast, it doesn’t look good,” she added.