We are at snow day #9 now for Rochester Public Schools and the big question my kids have is..."Are we going to need to make these snow days up?".

It is a rollercoaster of emotions in my house with all of the snow days and my three kids.  The initial excitement of getting that first phone call announcing "snow day!" has worn off for all of us.  I've actually turned my ringer off when there might be a possible snow day and we just wake up at our normal time and see what the day brings.

Since kids haven't had a full week of school for a while due to snow and cold, parents are wondering if our Spring Break plans will need to be changed with extra make-up days or if kids will just be going to school until July.  (I'm just sortof kidding on that July date...but if this snow keeps up it seems possible.)

The Rochester School District must have guessed that we were all thinking the same thing and answered that question in an e-mail and in a comment on their Facebook page this week:

We have had our share of cold and snow this year. Like many of you, we are ready for spring! We want to share a few pieces of information that may be helpful. We will be sharing this information on our website and via Skylert email with our community on Monday (2/25).

Canceling school is a very difficult decision. We want what is best for our students and staff. We know that having our students in school is extremely important, and sometimes, getting our students to and/or from school poses too much risk and we must cancel classes. The students are at the heart of every decision we make.

Our district does build in additional instructional hours to our annual school calendar above and beyond what is required by State Statute. That said, at this time, our district is not planning to make-up any of the instructional hours that have not occurred as a result of snow days. The Superintendent reserves the right to make a recommendation to the School Board to extend our calendar year so that instructional hours lost by snow days are made-up by June 30th. The final decision is up to the School Board.

A memo released by the Minnesota Department of Education on January 30, 2019, stated there is no financial penalty for having too few days or too few instructional hours based on State Statute. There are some exceptions to this, such as students whose average daily membership (ADM) is based on a statute-defined number of hours, like kindergarten student with an IEP, or extended-day membership, etc. but generally, we won’t see a financial impact.

Most importantly, we make our decisions based on what is best for students. While this is subject to change if we continue to have more and more snow days, our current plan is to follow the calendar as originally approved by the School Board.

So, good news so far!  Hopefully, Mother Nature will calm down a bit and we can get back to a normal school schedule soon.

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