BETHEL — Winter Storm Grayson, which caused more than 500 closings locally Thursday because of heavy snow and powerful winds, has forced School Administrative District 44 to use its last storm day of the year.
Superintendent David Murphy said five storm days each year are built into the school calendar.
The first days this school year were used Oct. 30 and 31, when Bethel and surrounding towns in the district saw flooding that halted traffic and forced business closures.
The third storm day, on Dec. 12, was called because of a snowstorm, while the fourth was used Jan. 2, when school buses would not start because of bitter cold.
Last year, the district used 11 storm days, according to Telstar High School secretary Eileen Meisner.
To make up the lost classroom time, staff and students stayed an extra hour a day for about eight weeks.
“It was well received by the staff and the community,” Telstar High School Principal Cheryl Lang said.
Murphy said an excessive number of snow days for this academic year would likely mean students would again mean longer school days for a while to make up the lost time. Murphy said he plans to propose this option to the board in late January or early February.
If the board approves the proposal, Murphy would seek approval of the state commissioner of education.
“If we ended with six storm days all year, we probably wouldn’t have to extend the days,” Murphy said, “But February and March are our biggest challenges, so it’s pretty likely we’ll have more snow days.”
If school days are extended to make up lost hours, Murphy said they will likely happen during “mud season” — late March or early April — when sports practices and games are on pause.