02 Mar

This has been an unusual year in terms of the number of days that inclement weather has required the closing of school.  I wanted to share with you information related to the decisions being made to make up instructional time lost to the days closed.  The Diocese of Richmond requires 183 days of instruction per school year, and allows 3 of those days to be lost to inclement weather and other reasons that require schools to be closed.  Recent instructions from the Diocesan Office of Catholic Schools are:

Dear Administrators,

I know many of you are struggling with the fact that you had to take so many days off and now you are wondering how you are going to make them up. I appreciate the communication I have had from those of you who have sent me your plans. This has been an unusual year to say the least, as far as weather is concerned. I have listed a couple of options below for you to consider.

Adding extra minutes to each class over a period of time is not one of the options. I realize we go longer than public schools, but we hold our students to higher standards which is partly possible because of our instructional time. However, adding a few minutes each day does not really help instructional time, so that option is out. What we have agreed to allow are the following:

  • ·         Everyone is expected to use the three days that were included in your calendar for snow days
  • ·         You may extend your half days to full days and count every two additional half days as a full day
  • ·         You may take time off of your Easter break (if possible avoiding Holy Thursday and Good Friday)
  • ·         Add additional days to the end of your school year

As of March 1, 2014, Saint Mary’s has closed school 4 days.  Three of those days have been charged to our allowable limit.  One of those days is being made up on March 26 & May 23 (previously scheduled early dismissals  – half days).

Additional weekdays that are currently scheduled as early dismissal non-instructional days are:
Holy Thursday, April 17
May Crowning/ Grandparent’s Day/ Art Show/ Spring Sing, May 16
Last day of School, June 6

Remaining non-instructional full days include:
Good Friday, April 21
Easter Break, April 21, 22, 23,24, 25
Memorial Day, May 26

When making the decision as to what days will be used to make up any addition time lost to closings, the following is considered:

  • Finding days suitable for regaining appropriate instructional time.
  • Impact on scheduled travel plans made by families and teachers.
  • Coincidental scheduling of other schools, i.e. Henrico Co. schedule, Benedictine / Saint Gertrude High Schools.
  • Availability of facility and/or impact on other Saint Mary’s activities and events.

As school is closed, I consult with school and parish staff, school leadership, and colleagues in other schools before making the recommendation as to how days will be made up.  You can expect a decision a week or so after school is reopened.