|Remember snow? This was Annandale in February 2014.|
Here’s how FCPS explains it: “Virginia law requires school districts to provide 180 days or 990 hours of classroom instruction each school year. FCPS reverts to the 990-hour calendar only if the 180-day requirement is not met because of severe weather conditions or other emergency situations.”
FCPS used to have a 183-day school year with the three extra days to be used for snow and other emergencies. Once the three snow days were used, additional days had to be added to the end of the school year to meet the state requirement.
In 2014-15, the school board adopted a 180-day calendar, “which exceeds the 990-hour state requirement because of the length of the student day,” FCPS states. “The additional time (hours) is converted to ‘days’ that can be used in the event of inclement weather. An advantage of the built-in hours is that days do not need to be added on at the end of the year, as was done in years past, when too many snow days were used.”
“There is no means for days to be given back at the end of the year because those additional ‘days’ are simply the excess time beyond 990 hours and, if the days were given back, FCPS would fall short of the required 180-day school year,” FCPS continues. “In addition, teacher contracts (mostly 194 days in length) are based on a 7.5-hour day and are tied to the number of school days per year with teacher workdays included.”