Gwinnett school district announces snow make-up plans

School days in Gwinnett County Public Schools will be 30 minutes longer this spring to make up for the schools being closed for recent winter weather.

District officials announced the decision on Monday morning to make up the four remaining days after it already scheduled three makeup dates into the calendar. The district made up one snow day on Feb. 17, and has scheduled two other makeup dates for March 14 and May 22.

The seven days are the most the district has missed since at least 1990.

“Our school system historically has made up missed instructional time,” district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said in a statement. “With that in mind, school district leaders considered a variety of options that could address the lost instructional time.”

The decision to extend the school day was made to provide time within the current calendar prior to key standardized tests rather than adding days on to the end of the school year.

The remaining four days will be made up by extending the school day by 30 minutes for 48 days. All schools will dismiss a half-hour later than their regular time, from March 3 through May 14. The last day of school will be May 22.

“The addition of 30 minutes to the school day during March, April, and early May will allow us to make up the equivalent of four instructional days in what is the least disruptive manner possible, as students and teachers already will be at school,” CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said in a statement. “The proposed plan is a logical, responsible one that we feel will best serve our students, teachers, and staff.”

Wilbanks has said he doesn’t believe 180 days of instructional time is enough, and has not been in favor of approving a calendar of less than 180 days.

Adjustments will be made to the tentative graduation schedule that isn’t official until mid-March. High schools will communicate those changes with seniors and their families.

Teachers are required to work a staff development day on May 23, while school leaders will work with teachers to make up two other staff development days so they are finished before June 6. Feb. 17 and May 22 were originally scheduled for staff development.

This decision comes after the State School Board on Thursday approved a waiver to allow local districts flexibility for how, and if, they would make up snow days.