The state Department of Education announced Monday that Schools can be closed for up to six days, or the equivalent number of hours, for various reasons. Usually, that time missed is for weather-related reasons.
Bill DiSessa, spokesman for the Department of Education, said this winter is shaping up to be rough as well, but the department will not know for sure how many days schools across the state were closed until reports are filed at the end of the school year.
Schools were shut across much of the state on Thursday and Friday due to below-zero temperatures. It reached 9 below in Lansing Friday, where schools were closed for the sixth day of the year. Jackson Public Schools were also closed for the sixth day. Grand Rapids Public Schools closed for a fifth day, and nearby Holland Public Schools closed for a seventh day.
Paul Liabenow, executive director of the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, said that missing days and extending the school year can indeed cause challenges for planning, costs, and vacations, but other factors need to be considered.
“The challenge for principals is that they need class time and direct instruction time with students in order to meet standards and benchmarks and provide quality education time so students can master the skill and content required,” Liabenow said. “There seems to be a bit of a divide between making up days beyond six and at the same time trying to support adequate time for teachers to provide direct instruction.”
Michigan Association of School Administrators spokeswoman Linda Wacyk said the group has “consistently cautioned lawmakers that we need as many instructional days as we can to be competitive.”
“We would be very cautious about any measure that removes more instructional days,” she said.