Due in part to some scheduled federal holidays but more so because of inclement weather days, school districts around the area haven't had a full week of classes for more than a month.
The numerous winter storms this season have given school children plenty of time for sledding and other snowy activities but also have forced districts to scramble a bit and alter the remainder of their school calendars.
In most cases, districts have had eight inclement days (Fort Osage and Lee's Summit have nine). State regulations call for schools to make up their first seven, then make up one for every two days off after that until it reaches 10 make-up days. After that, districts don't have to make up any more.
Some days will be made up during previously scheduled off days – spring break for professional development – and some days will simply be added on, pushing back the last day of classes.
The Independence School District has done a little of both, slicing off some of spring break in March, changing two scheduled off days in April and adding two days before Memorial Day weekend.
Fort Osage has also pulled back a scheduled off day April 19 (Good Friday) and added seven days beginning May 20.
Fort Osage Superintendent Jason Snodgrass said his mostly rural district had a day canceled because of downed trees and branches blocking roads around the district.
Even without that, the decision to cancel classes often is not an easy one for superintendents. Timing and severity of storms, and perhaps even the confidence of weather forecasts, can play a factor.
Independence Superintendent Dale Herl said he maintains a text thread with some other local superintendents to discuss weather/road conditions and possible cancellations.
Previously, Herl has told parents/guardians that if he isn't able to make a decision the day/evening before school, he will walk to his child's bus stop and drive around the city a bit to get some gauge on the conditions. He's also said that knowing some students have less comforts at home than at school make him more wary about canceling a Monday or Friday.
Snodgrass said he makes a similar drive around, as well. The bus drivers and buses, he doesn't worry as much about how they might handle a little snow on the ground.
“I try to view it from the perspective of the high school senior driving,” he said.
The Blue Springs School District pulled back a schedule off day on April 22, the day after Easter, but otherwise has not finalized the other six days it must make up. Spokesperson Katie Woolf said the district board will finalize the revised the schedule in April.
Grain Valley Schools will recall scheduled off-days March 11 and April 22 and continue classes May 16-17 and 20-22. The district said those are among the 10 snow day make-ups built into the schedule. Lee's Summit Schools will make up days at the end of the year beginning with May 20, making its last school day May 30.
Starting with the 2019-20 school year, the state will allow districts the option of making snow days in portions by adding hours to individual school days.