News & Politics

Sorry, Kids: Too Many Snow Days Means Additional School Days

Snow days are the best. But too many of them, and districts have to cancel holidays and cut into summer vacation.

Photograph via Shutterstock.

With a Nor’easter just a few hours away, Washington’s grade-school students are giddily awaiting the announcement of yet another snow day in the region’s strongest winter since 2010. Montgomery County Schools have already announced they will be closed tomorrow, and other school districts are preparing to make their announcements.

But while snow days are the best when you’re a kid, some school local districts have already had so many this winter that they’re starting to add days back to the academic calendar. For many Washington students, every additional snow day could mean longer school days during the spring, or a delayed start to summer vacation.

DC Public Schools has taken three snow days so far, but has to make up two of them. So instead of the city’s schools letting out on June 19, kids will be in class until June 23, and with tonight’s storm all but certain to cause another cancellation tomorrow, DCPS will have to find at least one more day to reclaim.

Montgomery County Public Schools—where the students send bratty tweets to the superintendent demanding snow days—just announced that tomorrow will be the sixth snow day of the academic year, which was scheduled to lose up to four days due to weather. Like DCPS, Montgomery County will be adding at least two school days to the end of the calendar, which was originally set to end June 13.

A spokeswoman for Prince George’s County Public Schools said the district has already taken four snow days, but does not have to make up any of them yet.

The snow day math is a bit trickier in Virginia, where public school calendars are measured in hours instead of days. Arlington has taken four days off, but is compensating by converting some early-release days to full days in order to fulfill Virginia’s state requirement of 990 classroom hours per year. Alexandria schools may add extra hours to school days to make up for lost time.

Fairfax County Public Schools have taken off six days, and are making up the lost days by canceling holidays, including President’s Day next Monday and a student holiday on April 7. Any more snow days, and the county will start extending the school year past June 20.

Loudoun County has had the most snow days of any local public school system with nine, but does not have to make its students attend extra days. In fact, the county could take six more snow days without extending the academic year, thanks to its longer school days. While most Virginia school districts have five-and-a-half-hour academic days, Loudoun County’s go for at least six hours a day.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.