The snowy and blustery weather camped out in York this year has made many people starting wishing for summer long before it begins.
But winter's icy grip hasn't loosened yet, and it's beginning to impact summer plans that seem a long way off -- especially for school students.
Citing road conditions and zero-range temperatures Wednesday morning, many school districts in York County took their sixth day off school this winter because of inclement weather.
For some school districts, like Spring Grove, the last day of school is still in early June -- June 2. But districts such as Northeastern, which started school a week later than Spring Grove, have listed make-up days until June 12. And that doesn't count the last two closings. If those need to be made up at the end of the year, Northeastern students would attend school into the third week of June.
The district is investigating ways students can make up missed days without attending school in the middle of June, Superintendent Shawn Minnich said.
Minnich said with this many snow days to account for, he has to discuss any decisions with administrators, the school board and teachers, who are contracted to work at certain times.
Minnich said he knows the dates students will attend school are the top question for students and families, and he expects the district will finalize the make-up days by the first week in February.
Make-up requirements: The Dallastown district has a long-standing tradition of waiting until April 1 to set a graduation date, Superintendent Ron Dyer said at the meeting.
And even in winters like this one, Dyer reminded the board he needs to uphold state requirements for student attendance.
"I can't gift time and break the law," Dyer said at the meeting.
In Pennsylvania, school districts are required to offer 180 days of class for all students. Elementary students need to fulfill 900 hours of instructional time, and secondary students need 990 hours, which does not include breaks such as passing between classes or lunch.
Those days need to be completed before June 30, said Tim Eller, spokesman for the Department of Education. If schools get close to that date, Eller said, there are waivers the state can grant, given by Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq.
But, he added, the exceptions won't be granted unless a school district has already scheduled classes until June 30.
Uncertain graduation: For now, the snow day juggling will continue. Minnich said calling a snow day is more than just "looking out the window," -- he tests road conditions in the hilly areas of Conewago Township before making a decision.
Dyer said each decision to close school is a difficult one, and he makes it a part of his job description to drive on the roads before canceling classes.
As in past years, Dallastown seniors will wait until spring to know when they'll be walking across the graduation stage. With its six make-up days, Dallastown students will attend school until Wednesday, June 11.
The school board at Spring Grove decided several years ago to set a firm graduation date, spokeswoman Lisa Smith said. Seniors will graduate Friday, May 30 this year. Smith said she isn't sure about whether the district will incur any penalties if seniors attend school for fewer days than their classmates, but said it was a board decision to give families a concrete date for notifying out-of-town guests. The last day for Spring Grove students is scheduled to be June 2.
The snow isn't making friends of students who want a long summer. Northeastern is moving up the start of the next school year by one week, to be more aligned with other schools in the county. Minnich said that means only two months of summer for students and teachers, and a crunched time for the maintenance and technology departments to complete all of their work during the break.
"For our district, it probably couldn't happen at a worse time," Minnich said.
-- Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.