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City, parents scramble amid more snow days

Officials working on makeup plan

Boston students and teachers will have missed eight days of school due to this year’s “unprecedented” amount of snow.
Boston students and teachers will have missed eight days of school due to this year’s “unprecedented” amount of snow.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Snow isn’t the only thing piling up this winter.

With the closure of schools on Monday and Tuesday, Boston students and teachers will have missed eight days of school due to snow. It’s the highest number of closures in recent years, and officials are now scrambling to figure out how to make up the time.

“We’re looking at a milestone,” said Denise Snyder, spokeswoman for the interim Boston school superintendent, John McDonough. “We hit five days [of closures] a couple of times in the last several years, [but] this is the highest in at least a dozen years.”

Those eight days include seven due to the snow and one for extreme cold.

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced on Sunday that schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday as the city braced for 2 feet of additional snow.

School and city officials said they are now considering how to make up the missed school days. Monday’s closure would bring the Boston school system to the end of its calendar year, which is set as June 30 in the teachers contract. The last day of school was originally scheduled for June 19.

Officials are eyeing holidays like Bunker Hill Day, Good Friday, and Evacuation Day, and vacation days in February and April as ways to make up the snow days, she said.

“We’re still weighing the options on how to make up for the learning time that has been lost due to snow day closures,” Walsh told the Globe in a statement. “I’m working closely with the superintendent to look at what the alternatives are, and keeping in mind that future snow events could result in additional closures.”

McDonough was unavailable for comment Sunday.

Fourteen family centers will be open throughout the city for emergencies and as a place for youth to visit during the snow days, Walsh said.

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Some parents, like Juliette Jordan, are hoping officials use vacation days in April to amend the school year.

“It’s close enough to June so they won’t feel bad about it and it won’t interrupt summer vacation,” said Jordan, 42, of Mattapan, whose 8- and 19-year-old sons will enjoy time off from school this week.

Jordan’s eldest son, Beroff, was thrilled about the additional closures.

“I’m excited about having the days off,” he said over the phone. “I will catch up on some work and play with my little brother.”

Not everyone was thrilled about the additional time off from school, however.

“With all of the snow days we’re getting, we’re getting more work to do in class and we’re getting stressed out with all of the work we have to make up,” said Rhianwen Kast McBride, 13, who attends Washington Irving Middle School. “It will be too hard to focus.”

Kast McBride’s mother, Karen, the cochair of the middle school’s parent council, said officials shouldn’t bother with making up for lost time, noting it could pose problems for parents and teachers who have already made vacation plans.

“I think they would be fine without it,” said Karen, noting officials should instead appeal to the state to amend the required 180 school days. “It’s something we need to start talking about.”

Officials have not mentioned this as an option.


Jan Ransom can be reached at jan.ransom@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Jan_Ransom.

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