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1 graduation delayed by snow and other schools are adding days

Snow day equals work or play

A snow day for many Tri-Citians became time spent clearing it or playing outdoors in the snow deposited by recent winter storms.
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A snow day for many Tri-Citians became time spent clearing it or playing outdoors in the snow deposited by recent winter storms.

This winter’s snowstorms pushed back one graduation and will keep thousands of other students across the Mid-Columbia in class longer.

School districts have started announcing how they will make up more than a week of school that was canceled because of snow days.

The estimated 100 seniors at River View High School in Finley who were planning to pick up their diplomas on May 31 will have to wait a week longer to graduate.

School administrators have been waiting for the end of the storms before settling on their plans.

Students generally need to meet a pair of state requirements by the end year — spend 180 days in school and an average of 1,027 hours in the classroom.

State attendance waiver

While they can ask the state to waive the first requirement, there is no way under current state law to waive the second.

Districts can ask for a waiver for a maximum of five days lost during the period covered by Gov. Jay Inslee’s state of emergency — Feb. 8-15 — but they will need to make up the other days.

What’s announced so far:

Kennewick: Students will now attend classes on May 24, June 13 and 14.

There also will be no Wednesday early releases for K-12 students starting the week of March 25 for the rest of the school year, except during parent and student conferences.

Kennewick had seven snow days. The district will ask for a state waiver for three days and make up the other four.

Graduation is staying the same. Kamiakin, Kennewick and Southridge high schools will graduate on June 8.

Leaders thanked the Kennewick Education Association for working with them to keep the end of the school year as close to the original June 12 date.

Finley: Finley officials tentatively plan for students to make up all of the six days they missed, pushing the last day of school from June 7 to June 13.

Graduation will move to June 7. They also are canceling any future early-release Wednesdays in May and turning them into full school days.

The district’s board plans to discuss the proposed changes on March 18.

Pasco: Pasco leaders are still talking about what they’ll need to do to meet the state requirements, said Shane Edinger, the district’s public affairs director.

For now the board is discussing plans at a special meeting on Tuesday.

Pasco canceled classes eight days for bad weather.

Chiawana and Pasco high school graduations are currently set for June 8.

Richland: Richland leaders expect to discuss their plans on March 26 after Superintendent Rick Schulte is back in town.

Richland schools closed for six days. Hanford and Richland high school graduations are June 7.

Columbia: Columbia (Burbank) School District lost six days of classes to the bad weather.

School officials are still discussing how they will adjust for the lost time. Graduation is set for May 31.

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.

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