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Snow-day fun comes with a cost for area kids

Snow days. They bring such childhood delights as sledding, snow angels and sleeping late.

But as many students and parents know, that joy can evaporate as fast as a snowman in the Sahara when the reality of makeup days comes into play.

Spotsylvania County students have already gotten a dose of that bitter pill. They’ve completed three makeup days and have two more on March 15 and April 19. But then they’ll be finished. Starting with Thursday’s missed day, they don’t make up any more.

By contrast, Culpeper County students will be making up their missed days when swimming pools and baseball diamonds are beckoning.

Culpeper will add onto the school year, so students will now finish on June 10 instead of June 3, the division announced online after this week’s storm.

That won’t impact high school graduations, however. Eastern View’s is still scheduled for May 31 and Culpeper High’s on June 1.

Louisa County students may also see their school year extended beyond the original May 24 end date, but attempts to reach school officials there were unsuccessful Thursday. The school year there is to be extended each day students miss beyond four, according to the division’s calendar. It was unclear how many they’ve missed thus far.

This week’s storm is continuing to lead to closings. Schools in Spotsylvania, Orange, Louisa and Culpeper were to to be closed again today. Stafford and Fauquier schools were to open two hours late because of fears of icy road conditions in the early morning.

Snow isn’t the only thing altering school calendar changes.

The first significant snowfall for the region since 2010 fell this week. A January snowfall was barely enough to pull out the saucers but closed schools because of road conditions.

Last fall, most students missed two days of classes because of Superstorm Sandy.

As of Thursday, most school districts in the Fredericksburg region had missed at least five days of instruction for the 2012–13 school year.

It doesn’t appear Orange County students will see any impact on their calendar since the division has 10 days of banked time built in and had three remaining as of Thursday.

Stafford County built about eight days of extra instructional time into its calendar and didn’t expect to exceed that this week, schools spokeswoman Valerie Cottongim said.

Should it exceed that time, the first step would be to change early release days to full days. Three days could be used in that manner: April 24, May 24 and June 12.

King George County Superintendent Robert Benson said his division has missed five school days so far but has already made up one and shouldn’t need to make up any others unless more days are missed.

King George students were in class on Thursday, though they started two hours late.

Fredericksburg schools Director of Operations Bob Burch said the division hadn’t analyzed its status but likely would do that early next week.

The division usually has plenty of instructional time built into the calendar, he said.

Caroline County has two makeup days built into the calendar but has missed seven, so it will be up to the School Board to decide how to handle the missed instructional time, a spokeswoman said.

—Staff writers Amy Umble and Dan McFarland contributed to this report.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972