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Going snowhere: Makeup days on the horizon for Goodhue County students

Buses sat idle again Tuesday, Feb. 12, after Red Wing Public Schools declare a snow day. Anne Jacobson / RiverTown Multimedia

With all of the snow plaguing Minnesota since the beginning of the year, will kids be staying later than usual in the classroom this summer?

State statute says that school districts are required to have 165 days of instructional learning in the classroom.

While some districts are onto their eighth cancellation of the year, all of the school districts are in a favorable position to avoid a prolonged school year.

Cannon Falls has the most days canceled in Goodhue County with nine, eight being snow days and one being a tornado day back on Sept. 21.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Lake City districts have closed eight days. Michael Harvey and Erick Enger, both superintendents, said they haven't encountered a winter like this before in their academic careers. Enger of Lake City recalled that the 2013-2014 school year experienced significant snow but nothing like this especially with the polar vortex two weeks ago causing multiple school days to be canceled.

Kenyon-Wanamingo Superintendent Jeff Pesta said he had never had more than five closings in a year, and has six this year. Pesta said the district tries to stay open as often as possible, but also takes into account the safety of the roads for families and their travel.

K-W, Z-M, Cannon Falls and Lake City have outside learning days scheduled to help alleviate some of the makeup day pressure. Outside learning days vary per district, but usually center on students completing a variety of assignments and tasks so they don't miss usual classroom instruction. They can be online or otherwise. Enger said having days like this is important because it keeps learning consistent for students.

However, according to statue, districts can only could five outside learning days toward the 165 days of instruction. All four districts have used their five days.

Districts can still use those days for instructional purposes. Harvey said having these days compared to days in June, when students have shifted their focus to summer vacation isn't always a positive learning environment.

The Red Wing School District has also eclipsed its 165-day mark, according to Superintendent Karsten Anderson. He looked into potential makeup days after being asked during a School Board meeting and found Red Wing Public Schools are in a good position, even though they don't have outside learning times.

Enger said that he thanks the Lake City School District parents for their continued support and help with outside learning days. Without the efforts of those parents, those learning days would not be possible.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism. 

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