Virginia Beach, Va. – They have 183 days built into the school calendar, but Virginia Beach Interim Superintendent Dr. Sheila Magula has refused to even consider using those days for snow makeups.
Now to compensate for the March snow storms, Virginia Beach will be adding 20 minutes to the end of their school days from March 31st until May 8th.
Trenace Riggs with the Virginia Beach Education Association says this decision is better than adding more Saturday schools, but she is still disappointed they did not touch the addition days in the calendar to get rid of the two more Saturdays still left.
“People were dragging that week, the kids were too, and you have to look at whole picture,” said Riggs. “It’s not about sitting behind a desk and getting instruction, because teachers are going to make sure that instruction is given.”
Riggs points to other school districts that worked around Mother Nature.
Norfolk is making half days on June 12th and 13th into full days.
Portsmouth is taking advantage of extra time already built into longer school days.
Chesapeake is keeping students in class an extra six minutes every day for the rest of the school year.
“Chesapeake had to add that time because they don’t have 183 days built in,” said Riggs. “We do.”
Dr. Sheila Magula still will not talk to NewsChannel 3 on camera about her decisions on snow makeup days.
Many are hoping for a policy change next year, when the new superintendent takes over.
“On years that we have inclement weather, they have to look at using the extra three days,” said Riggs. “They are there, so use them!”
The 20 extra minutes a day is something the superintendent did not want to do during the last round of storms.
Parents are already lighting up the school district’s Facebook page, asking why the 20 minutes is only being applied for a month, and not for the rest of the school year.
Many were hoping that would allow the district to cancel the rest of the scheduled Saturday schools.
When NewsChannel 3 asked VBCPS about it, they gave us this statement.
“In a nutshell, while that may seem like a quick fix, it would lengthen an already expanded instructional day.
A great number in our community were negatively impacted when we added to the day in the past.
Expanding to include two extra days could prove to be even more disruptive for many of our families.”