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Are There Snow Days Left for Birmingham Schools?

Students in public and private schools in Bloomfield Hills started 2014 with three consecutive snow days.

Back to school for students in Birmingham today after three consecutive snow days.
Back to school for students in Birmingham today after three consecutive snow days.
It's back to school for students in the Birmingham today. 

After three consecutive snow days prompted by a Sunday's heavy storm and the ensuing sub-zero temperatures, classes will resume Thursday morning for the first time since before the Christmas holiday break.

Now that the Polar Vortex is on the way out, temperatures should be closer to normal to allow students to wait outdoors for buses, and the roads should be safer to get them where they need to be. 

Wiggle Room

Starting 2014 with so many snow days has some wondering whether the district will have to add on days at the end of the year. However, districts have some flexibility.

The state requires districts to provide 1,098 hours of instruction over the course of at least 170 days. 

Previously, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation allowing schools with too many snow days to avoid having to schedule extra days in the summer.

According to Public Act 29 of 2013, school districts that weren't open at least 170 days could continue receiving state funding, as long as they still met the 1,098-hour minimum, which meant school districts that had more than six snow days could hold longer days for the remainder of the school year instead of adding days.

The law only applied only to the 2012-2013 school year. It would take another act of the legislature for such flexibility to be available during the 2013-2014 school year. 


Private Schools Adjust

All the Birmingham-area private schools also closed for much of this week due to the weather. Though they set their own schedules independently, private schools are looking to adjust as classes resume. 

Roeper's Upper School Director, Lisa Baker wrote the following on the school's Facebook page amid concerns about missing three days of school the week before final exams:

"Rest assured that no one will be assessed on material that has not been taught. Teachers will be adjusting expectations to suit the situation," she wrote. "Also know that returning to school tomorrow, students need to be ready to go." 

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