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How Many Snow Days Does It Take?

By Staff | Feb 8, 2011

This winter has had its share of late starts, early dismissals, and snow days for Palo Alto County school children, but exactly how many snow days have we had this school year?

“Five, we’ve had five snow days so far,” said John Joynt, Emmetsburg Community Schools Superintendent. “The rural roads have been the problem. The road crews do a great job in town and the roads are good, but when you get out in the country, there are a lot of icy roads and blowing and drifting snow. It makes it hard to get the busses out.”

With each school day missed, a school day has to be made up.

“Currently, the last day of school is Friday, May 27,” Joynt explained. “But that can change if we get any more inclement weather and school needs to be cancelled.”

If six days of school were missed, the next make-up day would be Monday, April 25, the day after Easter. The last day of school would be May 27.

If seven days of school were missed, the last day of school would become Tuesday, May 31.

“We would need to miss eight days of school in order to have a make-up day on Wednesday, June 1,” Joynt said. “Any additional missed days would be made up in June.”

On those days with a late start or early dismissal, how many hours are considered a school day?

Joynt said, “According to Iowa law, a school day is a minimum of five and one-half hours. A shortened day-one where there’s a two-hour late start or two-hour early dismissal-counts as a full day and doesn’t have to be made up.”

In recent days, the severe wind chill has been creating dangerous conditions for travelers.

“When wind chills get down to 25- and 30-degrees below zero, that’s when we start to consider the two-hour late start,” explained Joynt. “The late starts help make people aware that they are dealing with possibly dangerous temperatures outside.”

With the potential for winter to create hazardous conditions remaining through April or so, it’s hard to say just how many snow days students will ultimately be responsible for making up.