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School districts struggle with scheduling makeup days

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Mitts off spring break, and let the kids end the school year as scheduled. That's the word that many Minnesota school districts are hearing loud and clear from parents.

The Pioneer Press reports that after losing as many as five instructional days due to the dangerous temperatures, districts are scrambling to figure out whether – and how – to squeeze makeup days into their calendars following an unprecedented string of closures.

The Star Tribune said that some districts have decided to require students to attend school on Presidents Day, while others will trim three-day weekends and schedule classes on days that had been previously set aside for teacher training or grading. For example, Mounds View will have makeup days on Feb. 17 (Presidents’ Day), April 4 and May 23. They had previously been staff-development days.

Minnesota law requires that public school students in grades 1-11 be in class a minimum of 165 days per school year.

Tracking east metro districts, the Pioneer Press reports that Burnsville, Farmington, Lakeville, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan and Mounds View have formulated plans to make up lost time. St. Paul Public Schools plan to add days only if school is closed again. The Star Tribune reports that the Anoka-Hennepin, South Washington, North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale and Osseo districts are still formulating makeup strategies.

Some students in the Farmington district will make up lost time in a "flexible learning day" that lets students do missed assignments from home using a school-assigned iPad tablet. Superintendent Jay Haugen said that classes that mix in-person with online learning are becoming common across the state.

But the last chapter to this story may not have been written, as the harsh winter of 2014 is far from over. March is still ahead, and it's statistically the third-snowiest month of the year, behind January and December.

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