Snow Days

Winter weather has already led to several changes in the school schedule this year. From slightly icy roads to four inches of snow, recent ice storms already caused 4J schools to close their doors for six days along with thousands of power outages across the county.

The 4J website gives little information about what constitutes as a snow day, but it is standard practice for the school district to announce any changes due to inclement weather at 6:30 on the day of the cancellation or delay. In general, if road conditions are too harsh for school buses to operate, class will be cancelled or delayed. Harsh road conditions include fallen trees blocking roads, icy roads, and, of course, snow.

The end of the school year is generally when schools make up for such “inclement weather” days. However, the number of snow days this year has far exceeded the average. In fact, most schools across the state have seen more snow days than usual. Portland area schools have had eight snow days and will likely continue to have more, even though their last day of school is already projected to extend to June 20th. For 4J, the past snow days mean that school will probably continue until June 22nd or even beyond.

However, even though schools are compensating for lost time, the divisions between the second and third trimester are currently unchanged. The trimester schedule gives six less school days to second trimester, which was already shorter than the third trimester by a day. This unchanged schedule could prove to be difficult for students and teachers with classes that are only one or two terms, like P.E. classes or  two-term AP courses.

The school district is also considering other calendar changes to extend second trimester, however. The 4J website states that “all options for meeting state instructional time requirements are being considered, including possibilities such as adjusting daily schedules or making up school days before the end of the year.”

Beyond students, snow days have also caused a host of problems for members of the Eugene community at large. According to the Register Guard, 11,000 Lane County residents lost power in the ice storm before winter break. The neighborhoods that saw the most electricity cuts were South Eugene, West Eugene, and the River Road area. In addition, many more households experienced power outages due to the snow storm that hit the week students were scheduled to return to school. Other residents had large trees fall on and damage their houses or cars.

While the snow has caused problems for school districts trying to make up snow days and families who lost power, the uncommon amount of snow days across Oregon this year has certainly been enjoyable for students who have been hoping for a snow day since the last ice storm three years ago.

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