School district must make up school days
By Nick Longworth
Weather this winter has posed its fair share of challenges to commuters and students across the Park Rapids community. From frigid temps to over a foot of snow, the New Year has not been without new challenges.
Due to weather conditions – usually either subzero temperatures or excessively snowy conditions – Park Rapids Area Schools have closed twice, had one early let-out, and have had four late starts this school year.
According to Minnesota state law, the district is required to have 172 student contact days per school year. This means students have to be physically at school and in attendance for 172 days to complete a school year in its entirety.There are spare vacation days allotted in each school year that provide leeway for cancellations due to such weather conditions. However, once below the 172 days, a district will need to start making up days elsewhere.There is also no limit to the amount of days in which a school can close its doors due to weather, but each district is held strictly accountable to the 172 mark.“The school board sets the school calendar. Teachers and staff have input on as to how and when to best make up the days or time if needed,” said Superintendent for Park Rapids Area Schools Lance Bagstad.Currently, Park Rapids only has only one day scheduled to make-up the missed time, Easter Monday, or Monday, April 21.“We want to ensure the days that are made up are productive for students and staff. The more days we can set during the early spring the better, as opposed to adding the days on the end of the year,” Bagstad said.The district’s website can be checked for up-to-date information on closings and makeup days.