WSVSD crossing fingers for no more snow days

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Snow days have pushed back White Salmon Valley School District’s last day of school to Friday, June 16.

The District has been shuffling school days and break days to meet the state’s 180-day school year. So far, semester break day on Friday, Feb. 3 has been bumped to a full day of school. Tuesday, Feb. 21, previously winter break day has also been changed to a full school day.

“We’ve missed the most days we have in years, we’re up to nine days of closure. Three of those were snow days that were built in to the calendar,” explained White Salmon Valley School District Superintendent Jerry Lewis.

Lewis updated school board members with the district’s new calendar last week, during the board’s routine end of the month meeting. To view the revised calendar, visit the district’s Web site http://www.whitesalmonschools.org and click on Calendars, printable.

“I worked with the union and we’ve eliminated the semester break, and also winter break,” said Lewis. “Students will come in on those days. Then we’ve added one day to the calendar, so school has been extended from the 15th to the 16th.”

The three remaining days of missed school, due to inclement weather (i.e. icepocalypse, snowpocalypse), will be dismissed by a lost day waiver from the Office of Superintendent of Public Education. The waiver is guaranteed for the district, due to its inclusion in Governor Jay Inslee’s state of emergency proclamation, which provides an umbrella waiver for school days missed from Jan. 10 through 20.

“We have three days left that we can apply for a waiver,” explained Lewis. “The governor did include our counties in the emergency state status and in order to qualify for those, your district has to maintain 1,027 hours annually over your school year to be able to claim those school days. We have 1,089, so we still have a few days more that we could miss.”

Lewis also explained that the governor had closed the window for the state’s emergency status, which means future snow days may not be covered by a future waiver. “If some [snow days] come up, we can still apply, but it’s not a guarantee now,” he said. “Once you’re in emergency state status then it is a guarantee, as long as you meet the minimum instructional hour requirement.”

The waiver only applies for students, staff will need to return to school Monday June 19 through 21. Lewis said the time will be used to work on professional development opportunities, and may collaborate with neighboring districts to host workshops.

“The weather forecast for mid-February is not looking real good,” Lewis noted. “We’re not out of the woods, our weather guys said winter’s not over yet. We’ll cross our fingers and see what happens.”

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