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Extreme weather this winter has set Hillsdale Com­munity Schools back on schedule. Nathan Stein­meyer | Courtesy

Hillsdale Com­munity Schools are feeling the heat after a series of snow day can­cel­la­tions this year.

Throughout the course of the winter, Hillsdale Com­munity Schools were forced to cancel eight school days due to numerous snow­falls and the ‘polar vortex’ that swept through the midwest with frigid tem­per­a­tures. Now, Hillsdale edu­cators and stu­dents may be forced to attend two addi­tional days of school at the end of the year; poten­tially ending the school year on a Monday rather than a Thursday.

The Hillsdale Com­munity Schools Superintendent’s office said a request for a waiver has been filed with the Michigan Department of Edu­cation. If the waiver is granted, the state will overlook the addi­tional two snow days that Hillsdale Com­munity Schools took over the six can­celled day limit. The rep­re­sen­tative at the superintendent’s office did not estimate as to when they would know whether the waiver had been approved.

While awaiting approval on the waiver, Hillsdale Com­munity Schools have already adjusted their learning plans and assigned homework for stu­dents to prevent stu­dents from falling behind or missing critical infor­mation in classes, according to Prin­cipal Laurie VanOrman of Gier Ele­mentary School.

“We have had to make some adjust­ments in terms of lesson planning so we can make sure there is a con­tin­u­ation of ser­vices for our stu­dents,” VanOrman said.

Perhaps the greatest impact of the can­cel­la­tions have been on Hillsdale fam­ilies and their daily rou­tines. Emily Flannery, whose children are enrolled in Hillsdale Com­munity Schools, said the snow days have not exactly been a holiday for her family.

“Snow days do throw off our schedule and I have needed to adjust my plans for the day,” Flannery stated. “I do not work outside the home so it is easier for our family than for other fam­ilies.”

Despite the incon­ve­niences to family schedules and the extended school year, most parents seem sat­isfied with the school district’s han­dling of the snow days.

“There were no com­plaints filed in our office,” VanOrman said. “I think our parents under­stand when our roads are too dan­gerous.”

Flannery was also com­pli­mentary of Hillsdale Com­munity Schools’ han­dling of the can­cel­la­tions in terms of informing parents of the can­cel­la­tions in a timely manner.

“I feel like Hillsdale does a great job of noti­fying fam­ilies,” she said. “We always know by 6 a.m. that day through a phone call to each of our phones. It is nicer to know the night before, but it’s not always pos­sible to predict if the weather will actually hit.”