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School snow days

By Scott B. Smith, Superintendent Cedar Springs Public Schools

Recent snow days forced district to add May 24 as a make up day

Photo by Evelyn Avery

Michigan is indeed living up to its reputation of being a winter wonderland. The weather last week put a significant damper on virtually all aspects of our District’s programming. Thank you for your patience and flexibility as decisions to close school and cancel after-school programs were made.  Please know that decisions to close or delay the start of school are taken very seriously. 

Our primary consideration when making the decision to close, or delay the start of, school is for the safety of our students and staff. We are also mindful of the timing of the decision and want to make the call as early as possible for two reasons. First, we have students who leave the house as early as 5:30 a.m. to make connections with busses that take them to the Kent County Technical Center. Second, we want to give our families as much time as possible to make alternate arrangements for childcare. The challenge we face on some mornings is that conditions can change dramatically from 4:00 a.m., when we start checking roads, and 5:30 a.m. when we hope to have a decision made. To be clear, our decision-making process regarding school closings or delays is driven by three guiding principles: 

• We put the safety of our students and staff above all else

• We want to have school if at all possible

• We want to make the decision as early as possible

Cedar Springs Public Schools is required by law to have at least 172 days for the 2018-19 school year. Recognizing that at times the weather impacts our ability to safely have school, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) allows districts to close school up to six times per year for conditions that affect student safety. As of February 1, we had canceled school 9 times due to weather-related conditions and exceeded our allotted number of closings by three days. The State allows districts to apply for a waiver for an additional three closings. We submitted the application for our waiver early last week. Assuming that our request is approved, we will have exhausted our allotment of permissible days for the 2018/19 school year as of last week.

When future closings occur, as happened Wednesday, we will make adjustments to our calendar to meet the State’s days and hours requirements. Our options include having school on the following days:

May 24, June 7, June 10, June 11, June 12, and June 13

To make up for closing on February 6, we will have school on May 24.

Please know that regardless of the number of excused days we do or do not have available to use, decisions to delay or close our schools will always be based on the safety of students, staff, and our community.

If at any time you feel it is unsafe to send your child or children to school, you may call in an excused absence.

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