How will snow days affect school calendars?

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jan 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 20:30:35-05

The warm up and cool down pattern has wreaked havoc on roadways in the Treasure Valley.

Subsequently, school districts are fielding calls on how all these snow days will affect the calendar. With only a few exceptions, most students in the valley still have Monday, Jan. 16 off, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The huge amount of snow we've been getting is extraordinary, just take the Vallivue School District, for example.

"We've had seven snow days, which is a new record for Vallivue," says Dr. Pat Charlton, superintendent of Vallivue School District in Caldwell.

Vallivue students are among the majority who don't have to go to school on Monday's observed holiday. School districts that will be in session include: Horseshoe Bend, Kuna, Melba and West Ada.

If you're wondering if districts lose state funding because of snow days, the answer is no. Idaho law allows for emergency closures.

In fact, there is no requirement on how many days districts must hold classes. It's based on how many hours of instruction students are provided and varies based on the grade level.

Moreover, districts create their own school calendars and are allowed subtract 11 hours of instruction from the requirement, if needed, for emergency closures.

A number of districts have already made slight changes to their calendars, in some cases, turning early release dates into full days of instruction.

Out of the 60 subdivisions within the Vallivue School District with all but 18 now accessible to buses, Charlton was able to rework bus stop stations so that class could be in session Thursday.

"Student safety and staff safety are number one concerns as we've gone through this whole process. We certainly want to keep that in mind," Charlton says. "We tell parents if you don't feel good about your student walking out to the end of the subdivision to go ahead and keep them at home."

In general, school cancelations are determined in the early morning hours and usually no later than 5:30 a.m. Then, notifications are sent out to parents via a phone call, text or e-mail.

School district websites are a great source with up-to-date information.