Public schools officials throughout the south suburbs are preparing to add two days to the 2013-14 school year to make up the two days lost due to Arctic-like cold that hit a large portion of the nation this week.
Schools all across the area were closed because of the snow and harsh temperatures that, at one point, created a wind chill factor of 42 degrees below zero.
Because Illinois law requires schools to be open for class for 180 days, the time would be made up by pushing back the start of summer break by two days.
“There’s not a district policy, it’s a matter of state law,” said Calumet City Elementary School District 155 Superintendent Troy Paraday. “We have to be in session for 180 days.”
In the case of District 155, Lansing Elementary School District 158 and Thornton Fractional Township High School District 215, that would push the end of the school year from May 30 to June 3.
For Lincoln Elementary School District 156 in Calumet City, the end of school will move from June 6 to 10. Superintendent Darryl Taylor said the district routinely adds five extra days to the end of the school year in anticipation of severe winter weather that get deleted if they are not necessary.
“We have five extra days, and we’re going to use two of the five,” Taylor said.
Under state law, all districts are required to have the five extra days available. If it turns out that more days are used because of weather, districts can apply for what are referred to as "Act of God" days, which, if granted, mean that extra time taken off does not have to be made up at the end of the school year.
Mary Fergus, a spokeswoman for the Illinois State Board of Education, said districts wishing to get such consideration need to apply to their regional school superintendent and ultimately get approval from the Cook County schools superintendent’s office.