Parents and teachers will be looking for answers to those concerns, while school board members are waiting to hear what their superintendents want to do.
Districts have many options as to how to add back the extra hours of instruction.
One of the most commonly discussed methods is to add extra days onto the end of the school year.
Exactly how Cobb and Marietta schools will make up the lost time has yet to be discussed, school officials say, but students will know within the next month when they will have to sit through the extra hours of class.
The state allows school districts four days off for bad weather. After that, the districts are required to schedule make-up days.
But the State Board of Education will vote next Thursday on a resolution that would give local school districts the option to waive making up at least two days, effectively raising the limit to six snow days, said Matt Cardoza, a spokesman for State Superintendent John Barge.
The resolution would give local school districts flexibility to decide which days are needed to be made up and which days districts are able to make up by adjusting the school calendars. For example, a teacher’s work day could be converted to a regular school day.
But local school officials are already discussing their options.
Marietta Schools more flexible
Marietta City School Superintendent Emily Lembeck said she was waiting for her principals and administrators to get back to the office before she made a call.
The district’s options were vast. she said: add extra days onto the end of the school year, cancel previously scheduled breaks or add hours onto certain days.
She was concerned adding extra days to the end of the school calendar wasn’t the most effective way to make up for the snow days.
“Tacking on days to the end of the school year may not have the best instructional impact on students,” she said.
Marietta’s charter system status may give the district more flexibility in how many hours it is required to make up, Lembeck said.
Until the weather stabilizes, Lembeck said she wasn’t even sure how many days she and her staff had to work with in deciding when to add extra instruction into the calendar.
“We want to make sure our students have a sufficient number of days in which their teachers can provide necessary instruction,” Lembeck said.
Marietta School Board Chair Randy Weiner said he wasn’t sure where the extra time would be scheduled.
“The days we are missing now will have to be made up. They will be added back one way or the other,” Weiner said.
He and the board would follow Lembeck’s lead on how to schedule the extra time, learning from their past decisions.
After a series of snow days in 2010, Weiner said the district added extra hours onto school days for a two-week period, which “got mixed reviews.”
The district already changed its schedule in order to make up some extra time.
Last week, Lembeck canceled parent-teacher conferences for Kindergarten through eighth grade, and instead of half days with conferences, had whole school days. The change added five “half days,” or two and a half full days of instruction back to the youngest students.
Where Marietta City Schools will turn for extra hours moving forward, nobody knows, but Lembeck said she was keeping all the district’s options on the table.
Cobb Schools ‘never been here before’
Cobb’s school board has yet to discuss where lost days will be made up, said board member David Morgan.
Vice-Chair Randy Scamihorn said he wasn’t sure what the board would decide to do, but would be waiting to hear what Superintendent Michael Hinojosa recommended.
“I don’t know, I’ve never been here before,” Scamihorn said.
Depending on how the State Board of Education vote goes, Cobb students might have to change their summer or spring break plans.
“I have seen it in the past where there is a chance of shortening spring break by one to two days,” Scamihorn said.
The board will not be discussing its options at next Wednesday’s work session said Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci.
This semester’s three furlough days are Thursday, Friday and Tuesday, and it is too late to change the days off and have students come to school to make up for snow days, said Jay Dillon, a spokesman for the district.
If the state votes to allow Cobb not to make up the snow days from January, Dillon said he thinks the district would most likely not make the days up with added days or fewer spring break days, as many families had already made plans.
Before the calendar is changed, the board will discuss if there is a need to make up lost time, how much time would be needed to be made up, and when to make them up, Scamihorn said.