With so many snow days, school districts face tough 180-day assignment
The recent rash of winter storms has caused many schools across the region to close their doors more often than usual.
With February only a week old, school districts are going to have to get creative with their scheduling to ensure that they meet their state-mandated 180 school days.
Including three days this week, Lower Merion School District officials have now canceled six school days this year related to bad weather.
They had only budgeted for two.
At this point, they plan to make up the other four by adding time mostly to the end of the year.
"The challenge would be if we have anything beyond one more additional snow day, we then have to start taking days during spring break," said Doug Young, spokesman for the Lower Merion School District.
"We've had some years where we've just had to make up a lot of days so to try to make any predictions at this point would be difficult, " said Young. "But I guess the hope is spring arrives soon."
More than half of Lower Merion's schools were without power Thursday morning. Young said Welsh Valley Middle School and Penn Valley Elementary are in the areas that were hit hardest. Even if those schools are still without power Friday, Young expected classes at the other Lower Merion schools to resume.
The snow and ice have affected institutes of higher education as well.
Due to mass power outages, Villanova University canceled classes Thursday and Friday this week and encouraged kids to go home if they could.
Villanova was able to provide generator-power to some dorms, but not all. It's keeping one generator-powered cafeteria open 24 hours a day until the electricity is restored.
"We have about 6,300 undergraduates total. Of the 6,300, about 4,300 live on campus, and of those ... we estimate about 500 decided to remain on campus," said spokesman Jonathan Gust.
The university is in the process of figuring out how the shutdown will affect the academic calendar, he said.
So is it a big party for the 500 Wildcat students who opted to stick it out on campus?
"I'm sure they have enough work to do," said Gust, with a laugh.
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