Montgomery, Prince George's County schools are out of snow days-- so now what?

 The decision of whether to open or close schools has plagued many systems this year, but the tough calls may not be over. Maryland school officials say they may be faced with difficult decisions when it comes to how to make up their snow days-- if there are any more this winter.

Both Prince George's and Montgomery County schools hit the maximum number of snow days allowed in their calendars on Thursday. Whether you agreed or disagreed with their decisions to close, there are some facts everyone can agree on: it's only February 26, and there's a good chance winter isn't over yet.

Moving forward, future snowfalls this season could lead to some decisions that impact the school calendar from here on out.

Montgomery and Prince George's counties had built in four snow days for the year, and now, there are no more left to use.

Maryland's Department of Education mandates things like school curriculum and standards, but there's not a state standard when it comes to deciding whether or not a school system should close.

The DOE's Bill Reinhardt says all public schools must finish 180 days. If they go over on their snow days, they can redo their calendars, or send a letter seeking a waiver from the state superintendent Lillian Lowery. But that's no sure thing, since several of this season's storms haven't been declared an emergency by the governor.

"We expect students to be in school when the weather's good, and we expect schools to make a decision on when it isn't," Reinhardt said.

If more snow days pile up, some school districts may be forced to look for other options-- like eliminating teacher in-service days, or even shortening spring break. And while they aren't complaining now, many parents will tell you kids' snow day celebrations will quickly become summertime blues if the school drags later into June.

The Maryland Department of Education says they have not received any letters yet asking for waivers on the 180-day state requirement, but it's still early. Keep in mind, in 2014, there was snow in the region as late as April 15.



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