For many students, school was canceled today and staying home is becoming more familiar.
But how many days are allowed to be canceled in a school year? Six.
How many days have been called off in the last two weeks? Six.
Most schools now over the limit, like Lansing District Schools, and now have to make some decisions on what they do now.
“We’re looking at all possible options, we’ve still got a lot of winter to go yet, so we’re still considering what our alternatives are as far as adding more days on, or applying for a waiver from the state of Michigan,” said Deputy Superintendent for the Lansing District, Mark Coscarella.
Even though adding days to the end of the school year and shortening summer break might not be ideal for students or parents, officials say, it could be the safer route if the waiver isn’t approved.
“If that means that we have to close school and we have to add days, towards the end of the school year to make up for that instructional time, if they were not forgiven days, then we’d rather have that then have children in unsafe situations going to and from school,” said Deputy Superintendent for the Department of Education, Kyle Guerrant.
Districts do have the choice to apply for a waiver from the state to dismiss three extra days ontop of the six that are granted.
Not every district will be approved and will only be approved under certain circumstances.
“Conditions or situations that are outside of the school’s control, whether it’s weather related, whether it’s infrastructure, like a power outage or a water main break, things like that,” said Guerrant.
If you’re a parent and don’t agree with the school’s choice to keep classes going, Coscarella says they understand.
“It’s always their choice, we certaintly want kids at school, but if they feel it’s not safe out, or if it’s too cold, that is a parents right to keep them home and we respect that,” said Coscarella.
Whether school is open or closed, making the call is not an easy choice for the district and they need to think rationally about who it will affect if they do or don’t.
“Making the decision to close the school for whatever the reason is, is a tough decision. You know we have kids that want to be in school, we have kids that rely on schools meals at school, so they don’t take that decision lightly,” said Guerrant.
Guerrant added that no schools have applied to the waiver yet but expect to see a spike in applications once the winter weather settles down.