The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

February 25, 2014

Summer vacations saved?

DANVILLE — A memo issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education reminds school districts they can substitute classroom hours for school days as a way to compensate for days lost to winter weather.

According to the memo, a district can use the alternative, classroom hours method if all make-up days built into the school calendar have been used up. Normally, a school district is required to have 180 days of classes before June 30 every school year. Alternatively, it can provide 990 hours of education to secondary school students, 900 hours for elementary students and 450 hours for half-day kindergarten students.

Lee Gump, principal of Danville High School, said the district is currently on track to meet their 180 days, despite numerous cancellations this winter.

“Things of course can change, but as of right now I think we can get everything in,” he said.

Pending approval from the school board, the district is set to add another snow day to its calendar, Easter Monday, April 21. That day will be kept in reserve in the event of another cancellation. “Whether we use that or not depends on the weather,” said Allan Schappert, Danville school board president.

So far, Danville has spent all six of its allotted snow days, Schappert said. “Could there be a problem at the end of school? Certainly. But every day that passes, the likelihood seems to lessen,” Schappert said.

Should additional snow days be required for high school students, Gump would prefer to see class time be made up on Saturdays. If need be, seniors would be able to use Saturdays for graduation practice because the practice counts as a school day, Gump said. This way, they could get their required number of days in without pushing back the date of graduation. The school can use up to three days for graduation practice.

Non-seniors at the high school could use Saturdays after the seniors graduate, but before the June 30 deadline, if need be.

The school has used weekends to make up snow days in years past. “It’s not out of the realm of possibility,” Gump said. “I’m just hoping we have great weather from here on out.”

Email comments to rstoneback@thedanvillenews.com.

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