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    Loudoun’s longer school days keep schedule on track despite snow

    A school maintenance worker cleans off the sidewalk at Farmwell Station Middle School. Times-Mirror File Photo/Beverly Denny
    While the bad weather this winter has thrown many of the school districts in the D.C. metro area into scheduling disarray, Loudoun's approach to its scheduling has allowed for plenty of breathing room.

    The Commonwealth of Virginia requires that schools provide at least 990 hours of instructional time each school year with each school day being a minimum of 5.5 hours in length.

    With a 6-hour instructional day, LCPS is able to set aside 15 make-up days in the school calendar.

    Loudoun has been using a “fixed calendar” since 1990.

    According to Byard, the fixed calendar means that days missed for inclement weather will not cause truncated vacations, Saturday classes, lengthened school days, or changes in graduation dates. Families are able to set their calendars a full year ahead around the fixed dates.

    Yesterday, Loudoun County Public Schools announced school would be closed for inclement weather for the eighth time this school year.
    LCPS spokesman Wayde Byard announced school would be closed Jan. 23 due to the bad weather and Jan. 24 would be used for the moveable teacher workday. That day will not be credited as a snow day.

    The teacher workday was originally scheduled for Monday. Teachers can work from home or come in to schools if they choose.

    Second semester will now begin on Jan. 27. Monday will be a “B” day.

    With the change, mid-term exams for high school and middle school students have been canceled, but can still be taken by students if they want the chance.

    Byard says students will receive their grades Feb. 7 barring any more cancellations due to snow.

    Testing will be handled by each individual school and students will be notified of testing plans today.

    LCPS is hoping the two days will give the Virginia Department of Transportation, homeowners associations and private citizens the final opportunity it needs to clear roads and sidewalks so students can safely return to school.

    All administrative offices will be open on time on Thursday and Friday.


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