T ahoma’s week-long winter break coming up in February won’t change despite four snow days in January.
“It would really have to be an unusual situation” to take days away from winter break, says school district spokesman Kevin Patterson. Employee contracts and scheduled vacations make altering longer breaks difficult.
“You’re going to be affecting people no matter what change you make, so we try to keep those intact as much as possible,” he says.
Instead, the district held classes last Friday, which was originally scheduled as a day off but was designated on the calendar as the first snow make-up day. The other three days will be tacked on to the end of the academic year. The school board approved this revised calendar last week.
That means Wednesday, June 20, is the new last day of school for all students except high school seniors. They only need to make up one day, and their graduation date won’t change.
If the state decides to grant waivers for those missed days during the snow emergency, however, those dates might change again, says Patterson. State schools Superintendent Randy Dorn is waiting for counties to report their damage so that the governor can decide whether a disaster declaration is warranted. Even if this occurs, the school board must decide whether it wants to lose that instructional time through a waiver.
Schools were closed Jan. 17 to Jan. 20 after storms bringing snow, ice and wind wreaked havoc on Western Washington. Patterson, who has been the district’s public information officer for 14 years, says the district typically loses only one or two days a year; four days in a row is unusual.
Still, missed days are typically made up in June, he says. “People who’ve been around for a while understand that it’s probably not wise to plan a trip for immediately when school is out.”