School districts across the North Olympic Peninsula are considering whether they should apply for waivers after heavy snow last month caused school closures.
State law allows the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to waive missed school days and school districts can apply to waive days that were missed during a state of emergency.
Schools are generally required to have 180 days of school, but there is no legal authority for the state to waive the mandatory average of 1,027 hours of instruction for students, according to OSPI.
The Port Townsend School District is not planning to ask for any snow days to be waived, said Superintendent John Polm.
He said the district canceled three days of school due to the snow. One day has already been made up and the two others will be made up May 24 and June 17.
June 17 is the new last day of school.
He said graduation is still set for June 7, but “the high school will be planning activities to assure the school day requirements for seniors is satisfied.”
The Sequim School District did not respond to a request for comment.
In February, Superintendent Gary Neal told the Sequim Gazette that the district needed to investigate whether it needed to make up days at the end of the year after missing five-and-a-half days due to the snow.
Sequim School District’s school year is slated to end June 13 with a designated snow day built in for June 14 if needed.
The Quillayute Valley School District is in the process of deciding whether to ask for a waiver, said Superintendent Diana Reaume.
“We are going to wait a little longer to see if we have additional days that we’ll need to make up due to poor road and/or weather conditions,” she said.
The district has only canceled two days of school and it has two snow days built into its calendar.
The Chimacum School District does not anticipate asking for a waiver, Superintendent Rick Thompson said.
The district missed three days due to the snow and students have already made up one day, Thompson said. Students will make up another day May 24 and June 17.
The original last day of school was set for June 14. Graduation, set for June 8, was not affected, Thompson said.
Crescent School District does not anticipate asking OSPI for a waiver, said Superintendent Dave Bingham.
He said the district, which had three snow days, will make up the missed days by having students go to school during what had been scheduled as two teacher work days and a snow day.
Teachers will then make up the two teacher work days after school gets out on June 14, he said.
“If we do not have any more cancellations for the rest of the year, we have them covered,” Bingham said.
He said Crescent School District’s June 15 graduation has not been affected by the snow days.
Brinnon School District plans to ask OSPI for a three-day waiver, said Superintendent Patricia Beathard.
She said the district has enough hours of instruction planned into the year that it can afford to miss the three days of school.
If the waiver is granted the last day of school will remain June 14.
The Quilcene School district plans to ask to waive two snow days, said Superintendent Frank Redmon. The district missed three days due to snow, but because a “makeup day” is built into the calendar the district only anticipates requesting a two-day waiver.
If the waiver is granted, the last day of school should remain June 14 and graduation, set for June 8, is unaffected, he said.
The Cape Flattery School District submitted a request to OSPI to have two days waived after it missed three days of school due to the snow, said Superintendent Michelle Parkin.
If the days are waived, Cape Flattery’s last day of school will remain June 18. The district already made up one missed day last month.
Graduations in the district have not been affected.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].