Education

Weather cancels seven days of QPS classes -- so far

Quincy Public Schools buses sit idle Thursday at Flinn Stadium. School was again canceled Thursday, the seventh day school has been canceled this school year. Superintendent Roy Webb said, "It doesn't look good next week, either, so we may not be done." | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 8, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Feb. 8, 2019 1:46 pm

QUINCY -- It's seven days and counting for Quincy Public Schools.

Winter weather, including Thursday's icy roads and predicted wintry mix, has canceled seven days of classes for Quincy public and parochial students -- and even more days for students across Northeast Missouri and West-Central Illinois.

"It doesn't look good next week, either, so we may not be done," Superintendent Roy Webb said.

School districts typically build five "emergency days" into the calendar and will make up those. What to do when the number exceeds five is a School Board decision.

"We can make up the days or request from the State Board 'act of God' days and not make them up after five days," Webb said.

He expects the School Board to decide at its Feb. 27 meeting.

Adding five "emergency days" to the calendar means classes will end Thursday, June 6 -- already later than normal for QPS -- instead of Wednesday, May 29.

"We started late because of construction," Webb said. "Also we have concerns this summer getting everything done with the transition, the buildings and moving into the last two schools. It's a tight schedule this summer."

Webb had hoped to hold classes on Thursday, but roads and sidewalks were icing early morning and some bus drivers fell trying to get to their buses. Forecasts for a rain/sleet/snow mix from 9 a.m. to noon -- right when the district would be working with midday bus routes for early childhood students -- also factored into canceling classes.

"We've come to school on days that are borderline, but I always feel like our buses can get around safely, and we can get kids to and from school pretty safe," Webb said. "Buses are very good in the snow, but everything has a tough time in ice. If I can get my buses around, we usually will have school. A lot of times, kids are their safest at school even on days when there's a little risk getting there."

Either way, parents have a decision to make.

"If they feel it's unsafe for their child, whether they have to walk a long distance or they were just sick recently, it's always going to be an excused absence for them," Webb said. "When I don't have school, they don't get that decision. They have to keep the kids home ... and parents have to make the decision do I stay home with them, or do I go to work to be able to provide for my family?"

Even with seven snow days so far, Webb said there will be enough days in session to meet requirements for student teachers, internships and driver's education.

Colleges and universities work with students doing student teaching or internships, so "I don't think there will be a problem," Webb said.

In a short semester, there can be worries about driver's education where students must have so many days in class to qualify.

"That's kind of why we extended (first) semester until after Christmas break," Webb said. "This second semester is our longer semester. We're in good shape there."