Letter to parents & staff about making up snow days

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Dear Parents and NHPS staff,
With winter firmly upon us, I want to reach out to you with some information about snow days and make-up days that I hope is helpful to you and your family. On a personal note, I will say that making snow day decisions has been one of the most unexpectedly intense parts of my new job as superintendent.
First, let me say a few things about our decision-making process when declaring snow days or calling delays or early dismissals. My first priority is always student and staff safety. As secondary factors, I consider the importance of having children in school to learn and grow. I also recognize that many of our parents work and it is an inconvenience and loss of income to take a day off to stay home with students. For some of our students, being in school means having breakfast and a hot lunch. Even with these factors, the priority that guides my decision is the safety and wellbeing of students.
I know that timing of decisions matters as well. Whenever possible, I will make decisions by 8 p.m. the night before. Please understand, however, that the unpredictability of weather makes this kind of early decision rare. More often, I will make decisions by 5:30 a.m., when it will be communicated immediately online and through TV and radio stations, with Parent Link messages beginning at 6 a.m.
Second, is the scheduling of make-up days. We are required by state law to have 180 days of school each year. With two “snow days” built into the school year, any additional days missed due to weather must be made up. We have begun thinking proactively about how to schedule make-up days in a way that is respectful of families and staff. We want to communicate the plan now so that families can make plans for their time off. The plan is as follows:

  • The first 2 snow days are built in to the school year and we are not planning to make them up.

  • The next 7 snow days will be added to the end of the school year on June 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27. 

  • If additional days are cancelled for snow before Feb. 15, they will be taken from February vacation, working back from Friday. President’s Day will remain untouched.

  • If additional days are needed after February break, they will be taken from April break, working back from Thursday, April 17. Good Friday on April 18 will remain untouched.

So far this year, we have missed 5 days of school due to weather, so under the new plan we would have 3 days to make up in June, which pushes the last day of school back to Monday, June 23. That date could change if we have more snow days.
As always, our mission is to educate your children and prepare them for success in college, career and life. With that said, we’ll hope for a mild finish to the winter and uninterrupted learning days.
Very truly yours,
Garth Harries,
Superintendent of Schools