Indian River School District officials thought they had finalized plans to make up weather cancellations, until Tuesday’s storm yielded a ninth snow day.

Indian River School District officials thought they had finalized plans to make up weather cancellations, until Tuesday’s storm yielded a ninth snow day.

“We have not had a chance to discuss whether our current plan will cover today’s closure,” District Spokesman Dave Maull said Tuesday morning.

At Monday’s meeting, the Board of Education unanimously approved tweaking the district calendar in light of the state’s forgiveness of four school days.

The last day of school for students will move up one day, from June 11 to June 10, with two hours being added to the teachers’ last day, setting dismissal at 3 p.m. rather than 1 p.m. on June 13.

Moving the last day of school up by a day reconciled the forgiven days with the district’s plan to extend each academic day by 30 minutes, which had already been implemented.

“Between the days forgiven by the state and the extended school day, we were able to calculate that we would make up the instructional hours missed by June 10,” Maull said.

So far this year, the district has declared eight weather cancellations due to snow. Unlike some districts, Indian River does not budget for snow days in its academic calendar.

“We instead prefer to address make-up days on a case-by-case basis,” Maull said.

Earlier this month, district officials announced that beginning March 17, and continuing through the end of the academic year, school days would be extended by 30 minutes.

Maull said the board chose to add minutes to the school day rather than add days to the end of the year because the latter option would push the last day of school into mid- to late-June, possibly creating hardships for families.

In addition, the district requested the state Board of Education forgive four snow days – two days that saw state of emergency declarations and two days during which state offices were closed. The district’s request, as well as snow day forgiveness requests from all 19 Delaware school districts, was approved by the state board on March 20.

Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said this year, due to extreme weather events, students and teachers were robbed of critical educational time.

“They need and deserve to have it returned,” Murphy said.

However Murphy said he must take into consideration the safety challenges caused by this year’s weather, and he recommended the state board approve forgiveness of up to six days.

Murphy said he recognizes the need for better planning in the future, referencing districts and charter schools that build extra time into their calendars for use during extreme weather events.

“I expect [our districts] will work with their communities, their parents and their teachers to build in the strategies to ensure our students and educators are not robbed of learning time,” he said. “And I expect that should we happen to have another set of challenging weather next school year, we will not see requests for ‘forgiveness of time.’”