Delmarva Schools Making Up for Lost Time - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delmarva Schools Making Up for Lost Time

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SELBYVILLE, Del.- Friday morning, it was yet another three-day weekend for students throughout much of Delmarva. Despite the snow passing for the most part, the cold air and icy roads made many districts cancel school.

All of these closings and delays have put school districts behind, and now they are working to try and avoid chipping away at summer vacation.

"Last evening at home my son looked at me," said Assistant Superintendent for the Indian River School District Mark Steele. "And he said 'dad - you look really stressed.'"

Steele is one of the people who makes the tough decision at the school district about when to cancel and when to go ahead with class. He said he woke up at 4 a.m. to start with the decision-making process. Steele said the district scheduled about seven days of cushion before they would have to start taking away summer days. He said there is now just one day of cushion left.

"Two more snow days and we're potentially looking at going beyond June the 12th," he said. "Sorry kids. But that's the way it's going to be."

This one-day cushion is partially due to a new policy in the district, in which16 minutes was added to every school day. Despite the policy change though, summer days could still be threatened if more snow hits in March.

Meanwhile, in Milford, it is a similar situation.

"One day," said Superintendent Phyllis Kohel. "That's all we have."

Kohel said that at Milford, as with all schools in Delaware, they must reach 1,060 hours in a year.

"With an entire month of March left, we're not sure what's going to happen," she said. "And knowing now that we only have a day left, we're already looking at places we can cut."

Kohel said they are looking to cut Professional Development days as a possible alternative to extending the school year into the summer. Currently, they have eleven professional development days scheduled. The state mandates that all districts do at least eight in a school year.

There is a similar dilemma in Maryland. At Wicomico County Public Schools, Tracy Sahler said that unlike Indian River and Milford, they did not build in a cushion to their calendar. For that reason, she said the weather-days are creating issues.

Sahler said there have been seven snow days, one of which will be made up on April 7th, when the school is postponing a professional development day. Currently the rest of the days have the potential to be added to the end of the school year. In Maryland as in Delaware, these days can also be waived by the state.

"Our original last day of school was approved as June 10th," she said. "Which was a Wednesday. If we need to add six days on to that then we would now be getting out of school on Thursday June 18th. And we would accommodate that."

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