Schools trying to figure out how to schedule days lost to weather

The snow and icy roads that closed schools across the region for days this month are leaving some districts to wonder how the lost classroom time will be recouped.

Most districts left for winter break Friday still unsure how they will make up the snow days.

Schools in the Phoenix-Talent School District were closed for four days during and after the storm hit Dec. 6, and classes started two hours late on the fifth school day after the snow.

"I couldn't remember another time much like this, except for many, many years ago during a flood," said Teresa Sayre, Phoenix-Talent superintendent.

Sayre said that state rules allow 14 hours of instructional time to be forgiven for weather-related closures each year, and Phoenix-Talent's regular instructional calendar is also a few hours over state requirements. Even so, the district will need to make up one instructional day sometime this year, she said.

The administration is asking staff for ideas to fit in the extra day, whether it's replacing a furlough day, adding on to the end of the school year or other proposals.

Sayre said the school board will consider ideas and discuss the possibilities at its next meeting.

"We're in the midst of deciding," she said.

The Ashland School District was closed for four days, and ice is still lingering on city streets more than two weeks after the storm.

"They're still deciding how they're going to make up the days," said Katherine Sisk, executive assistant at the Ashland district office.

The Eagle Point School District cancelled class for three days because of road conditions, and did a one-hour and two-hour late start the following two days.

"We have to look at all the numbers, and I don't even know that the cabinet has talked about it," said superintendent's secretary Kathy Ascuena.

The Rogue River School District cancelled classes for six days because of poor road conditions following the storm. Calls to Superintendent Paul Young about how the days would be made up were not immediately returned.

Classes in Medford were cancelled for three days—Friday, Dec.6, and the following Monday and Tuesday—as snow and ice continued to stick on the road.

Superintendent Phil Long said the district hasn't decided how to make up the snow days yet, considering ongoing contract negotiations may have an impact on the calendar as well.

More days were added to the school year through the contract the district implemented for teachers this week, meaning the school year will probably already be extended a few days further into June.

Long said last year a canceled school day was made up at the end of the school year in June.

Long said he would talk with the school board about how to make up the days and said it was important to realize that winter is just beginning and more weather related closures could happen.

Teresa Ristow is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach her at

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