Back to class after cold days

Chicago area schools are back in session now that temperatures have climbed above zero

January 8, 2014

Flickr/Mo
File: Kids brave snow to head to school.

Temperatures have finally climbed above zero and that means children all across the Greater Chicago area are climbing out of bed this morning.

After being closed the past two days for extreme cold, classes at Chicago Public Schools and a number of suburban districts are back in session.

Many students and school staff may have seen the extended break as late Christmas present, but Illinois law requires cancelled days to be made up later in the school year. Students must attend school for a minimum 176 days.

Usually, districts will add days before summer break, but some will work them in during the year instead.

“People argue that in June the instructional merit of those days is lost,” said Karen Geddeis, spokeswoman for Glenbrook High School District 225. “These days are built in when they instructionally make sense.”

Three years ago, Geddeis said, the district started working emergency days in throughout the year.  That means the past two off days will be made up next Monday, January 13, and after spring break, on March 31.

Niles Township High School District 219 will do something similar. Spokesman Jim Szczepaniak said the district’s three high schools will be in session next Friday, January 17th, when they otherwise would be off, which helps with upcoming finals. The other will be made up on Friday, June 6th.

“We’re talking about our final exam schedule,” Szczepaniak said.  “We want to make sure we give students and teachers as much instructional time and preparation time as possible.”

Chicago Public Schools spokesman Joel Hood said the missed days will be made up, even though CPS extended its school year to 180 days, above the 176 required by the state. Officials are still determining when they will schedule the make-up days.

In Indiana, state education officials say schools won’t be required to make up these missed days.  Department of Education spokesman Daniel Altman said all districts can get a waiver for these two days specifically. Normally, the state of Indiana requires students attend school for 180 days.

Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ. She tweets from @WBEZeducation.