Southern Lehigh students can expect to be in the classroom three more days this year then initially scheduled.
The school board unanimously voted to add Jan. 21, Feb. 15 and April 1 back into the school year in order to give the district a little more cushion for a possibly bad winter.
"The likelihood of using additional snow days this winter is pretty high," said board president Dr. Thomas McLoughlin.
Students are required to be in school 180 days, with varying amounts of instructional hours depending on grade level (from 990 for upper grades to 450 for kindergarten).
"We have a few options to make sure the school complies with state requirements," said superintendent Leah Christman. "We can adjust the calendar [to add additional days at the end of the year]. We can adjust graduation [to help senior comply with attendance requirements], or we can add days back into the calendar."
Board members suggested additional options. "If push came to shove, [students] can go on Saturdays," said Dr. Elizabeth Stelts. "I've heard of other districts doing that."
During the lengthy discussion, the board agreed that if at all possible dates around long holidays shouldn't be used, such as dates leading up to or ending on either side of the Winter Break or Spring Break.
McLoughlin did ask that parents reach out with suggestions for additional makeup days in the event that the district uses the four remaining days. "It would help if folks in the community would give us guidance about which days would be best."
Conversation about adding the Monday after Thanksgiving back into the calendar was nixed to accommodate the traditional beginning of hunting season.
Should the weather cooperate, the board does have the right to restore any of these days to their original "off" status.
As board member Jeff Dimmig pointed out, "I don't think anyone will be that upset if we add those 'days off' back into the calendar."