Snow day further extends Providence school year

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Students in Providence had another snow day on Monday, and the potential for more snow this week spells bad news for a school district that’s already running the risk of classes spilling over into July.

Many may be wondering why the district doesn’t go for a one-hour delay instead of canceling, but school officials said that would put school buses on the roads in the middle of an urban rush hour and make things worse.

Providence Schools Communications Director Christina O’Reilly said the district has already had seven days canceled due to weather. The city has asked the state to shorten the school calendar by one day, making the last day Friday, June 26, to avoid running into the week of July 4.

“Families have plans, staff have plans potentially made and already paid for,” said O’Reilly. “We don’t want to hold school in name only. We want to be sure that we are holding school on a day when we can get the best attendance.”

If the state declines the request, the final school day would instead be Monday, June 29. O’Reilly said they have no intention of asking to shorten the year any more than that.

“The superintendent had made clear that in ordinary circumstances, her preference would not have been to even seek to reduce by one day. We do not anticipate seeking two days,” she said.

O’Reilly said classes on Saturday wouldn’t be feasible because of busing logistics, and trimming April vacation is a non-starter for the same reason the department wants to avoid the week of July 4 – existing plans and obligations.

The district is soliciting feedback from parents on next year’s school calendar and other scheduling matters, including the possibility of having school on some religious holidays. To weigh in, visit the district’s website and complete the survey by Friday.

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