Some students thought their Presidents Day holiday had been stripped away to make up a day lost earlier this school year to a snowy and bitterly cold winter.
Instead, ice-glazed roads delivered them another reprieve from the classroom.
School districts including Parkway, Wentzville and Highland had planned to have class Monday to make up for a slew of snow days.
Instead, Monday marked the ninth day that Wentzville had to cancel class due to nasty weather, said Matt Deichmann, a district spokesman.
“It has been a challenge,” he said of rescheduling school days. “Of course, the most important thing is instructional days for our students.”
But school leaders must weigh academics against safety concerns such as teen drivers in a district that spans 89 square miles and covers rural and suburban areas, he said.
The loss of Monday’s school day means Wentzville students will be stuck in class until June 6. The district’s original calendar called for them to be done May 28. They also had to attend class Friday, which was supposed to have been a professional development day for staff, and will have to come to class on April 18, which is Good Friday, Deichmann said.
Missouri law requires students to attend 174 days and 1,044 hours, with some exceptions. The state requires districts to make up their first six snow days, unless they have built extra days into their school calendar. Illinois school districts must plan five “emergency” days into their required 176 school days, but state law allows districts to apply for an “act of God” exemption that keeps them from having to make up more than five days.
The Edwardsville School District, which has lost 10 days this school year because of weather, got approval from the state and the regional superintendent for Jan. 9, 10, 23, 23 and Feb. 5 to be deemed as its “act of God” days, according to the district website.
The district kept Monday as a holiday, as did many other districts, including Rockwood, Francis Howell, Fox and Fort Zumwalt.
Highland School District planned Monday as a makeup day, but canceled because of icy roads. Another makeup day is scheduled for April 21, the day after Easter.
Superintendent Michael Sutton could not be reached for comment, but a letter posted Feb. 6 on the district website said the district will apply for “act of God” days for any additional snow days used this year.
Missouri also allows for some forgiveness of snow days.
Once districts have made up their first six snow days, schools are allowed to make up half of the next eight days, for a maximum of 10 snow days.
Parkway school leaders had planned a four-day Presidents Day weekend when they set the calendar, but tacked on Friday and Monday as class days to make up for snow days, said Cathy Kelly, a district spokeswoman.
Like Wentzville, Parkway had class Friday, but canceled Monday because of ice. The last day of school was supposed to be May 22, but will now be May 23. And there’s a chance Parkway students will be in class on March 14, the Friday before spring break, she said.
“We’d like to end the school year before Memorial Day, if at all possible,” Kelly said.
The district has logged eight snow days this year, Kelly said. Last year, Parkway tallied three, and the year before that, none. The 2010-2011 school year had seven.
Myseum — a playground, science and children’s museum in Town and Country — has been closed just one day this winter for bad weather, said Jana Deutch, co-owner with her husband, Jeffrey. Business was brisk on Monday, as it has been on earlier snow days.
“If we had a snow day last year, they’d go out sledding,” Deutch said. “But this year, it’s too cold to go sledding, so we saw a lot more kids come in.”
With temperatures rising into the 50s, snow days should not be an issue for the rest of the week.