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February 11, 2014

For much of the nation, schools run short on snow days and adjust schedules

For much of the nation, schools run short on snow days and adjust schedules.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The first snow day of this brutal winter left teacher Christopher Crabtree almost as tickled as it did his three children, but delight is giving way to dread as school cancellations pile up — a whopping 16 days off so far in his southern Ohio district, with more snow in the forecast.

Now, even his 12-year-old daughter and 9-year-old twins are missing friends and tired of being stuck at home, he said.

“We really need to get to back to school and some normalcy,” said Crabtree, who teaches American studies at Waverly High School, which lost much of January’s class time to cancellations and two-hour delays.

Schools in at least 10 states and the District of Columbia have run out of wiggle room in their academic calendars, forcing them to cut short planned breaks, hold class on holidays, add extra days to the end of the year or otherwise compensate for the lost time.

Students will make up at least three days in Philadelphia and New Haven, Conn., and two in Washington, D.C. Delaware schools have missed a week’s worth of class, and more than half of Maryland’s school districts reached or exceeded their allotted snow days. Boston is extending its school year by nearly a week.

The add-on approach doesn’t sit well with Jonathan Selig, a stay-at-home dad from Halifax, Mass.

“It’s crazy. The kids are going to school at the end of June,” Selig said. “Most of the schools aren’t air-conditioned, so it’s not really a conducive learning environment.”

The schedule shuffle is a pain for parents and educators trying to plan for schoolwork, and child care now and vacation time later.

Dana Bethune, a mother of two girls in North Huntingdon, Pa., said her district always seems to be among the last to call off, leaving her scrambling to arrange for a caregiver or work from home. Bethune said her older daughter, a seventh-grader, no longer shares the younger one’s bliss because she understands the trade-off: free time to dance and play video games now will cost them part of spring break, plus a holiday or two.

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