Dogs take a snow day in Lynden
Students at many Whatcom County schools will be in class until late June after a week’s worth of snow kept many schools’ doors closed the entire week starting Feb. 6.
The missed days came amid heavy lowland snow that began Feb. 3 and continued intermittently through Feb. 8. Nearly all school districts were closed for the entire week because of the lingering snow and ice that made for dangerous driving conditions. Bellingham and Blaine school districts were the exceptions, only taking snow days Feb. 6-9.
Some districts plan to ask the state Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction to waive some days missed, officials said.
Here’s a district-by-district rundown of how many days were missed last week, and how it affects the rest of the school year.
Bellingham school closures Feb. 6-9 brought the district’s overall snow-day count to six for the 2016-17 school year, district spokeswoman Jackie Brawley said in an email.
The district does not build snow days into its schedule, Brawley said, but the teachers’ bargaining agreement allows for two missed days to be made up at the end of the year. The new tentative last day of school is June 19, a Monday, Brawley said. It was originally scheduled for June 15.
The district is considering applying for waivers from the state, but has not decided how many days it will ask to have waived, Brawley said.
Blaine’s closures from Monday through Thursday last week, along with closures in September and December, put the total number of days closed this academic year at eight, Tina Padilla, an administrative assistant, said in an email.
The district’s original calendar had three scheduled make-up days, and two more were added in a board meeting last month, Padilla said, for a total of five.
Blaine students will now have class at least until June 23, she added. The district is considering applying for a waiver for some of the missed days.
The Ferndale School District has used 11 snow days this year, spokeswoman Tammy Bengen said in an email, more than any other public school district in the county. Snow in December caused Ferndale to cancel classes for six days leading up to winter break.
The district originally blocked out five days in June for make-up days, and the state granted a waiver for two days after the December snows, Bengen said. With that waiver, classes were to end June 21.
Administrators plan to request a waiver for one of the days missed this month, Bengen said, adding that administrators are still figuring out how to make up for the remaining February closures.
Lynden schools were out the entire week of Feb. 6, bringing this year’s total snow days to six, Shari Shagren, assistant to Superintendent Jim Frey, said in an email. The district had three days planned into the end of the year for make-up days.
The new tentative last day of school is June 23, an extension from the original end date of June 15. But the district is considering applying to waive “some” of the missed days, Shagren said.
Lynden Christian canceled class all week for its Lynden schools; Evergreen Christian School in Bellingham held class on Feb. 10, Superintendent Paul Bootsma said via email. They’ve used a total of six snow days, and make-up days were not built into the schedule, Bootsma said.
Students will attend class on Monday – Presidents Day – to make up for one of the missed days, he added. Administrators were still figuring out how to make up the remaining five days and would make that decision on Friday.
As a private school, Lynden Christian cannot have any of its missed days waived, Bootsma said.
Meridian students did not attend school at all the week of Feb. 6. The district has used seven snow days, Superintendent Tom Churchill said in an email. No snow days were planned into the year, he added.
The district plans to apply for a waiver for one of the days missed, Churchill said, adding that the school board will consider the application at its Feb. 22 meeting. If the waiver is granted, Meridian classes would end June 23, he said; if not, they would end on June 26.
Mount Baker schools canceled all classes Feb. 6-10, putting their total snow-day count at six for this academic year, Superintendent Charles Burleigh said in an email. The district had not planned any snow days into its year, he added.
Administrators had originally planned June 15 as the last day of school. The last day of school is now planned for June 23, Burleigh said. The district does not plan to apply for a waiver for any of the missed days, he added.
Nooksack Valley schools missed all classes the week of Feb. 6, bringing their snow-day count for the entire year to six, Administrative Assistant Yesenia Cisneros said in an email. The district had five make-up days worked into its 2016-17 year.
The district plans to request that two of the missed days be waived, Cisneros said. If the waivers are approved, classes would end June 20. The district originally planned to end classes June 16.
Colleges around Whatcom County also canceled classes for at least one day during the week of snow, and had several days of delayed classes.
Bellingham Technical College: Enough class time was built into the quarter to account for the missed classes, Marni Mayer, a BTC spokeswoman, said in an email.
Western Washington University: Western students will not need to make up any of the missed classes, Paul Cocke, a university spokesman, said in an email.
“University students are held to the high standard of being fully responsible for the work assigned to them by their instructors for the term regardless of bad weather,” Cocke said.
Whatcom Community College: The closure and delays will not affect WCC’s calendar, Mary Vermillion, a college spokeswoman, said in an email. Students remained in contact with instructors via the internet on days when classes were canceled.
Northwest Indian College and Lummi Nation School officials did not immediately return messages requesting information about potential changes to their calendars.