Make-up Days FAQs

If my child is unable to attend school on the make-up day, November 12, will the absence be excused?

Parents are encouraged to speak with their principal to ensure a student absence on November 12 complies with school division regulations as detailed in the Student Handbook and Conduct Code:

Legitimate reasons for absences are: illness, death in immediate family, doctor or dental appointment (not possible to be scheduled on non-school time), and/or exceptional circumstances as determined by the building principal.
Parents/Guardians should discuss with the school principal any absence which the parent/guardian believes constitutes exceptional circumstances. In such event, the principal shall make the final decision as to whether the absence is excused or unexcused. Parents/Guardians are responsible for providing the school with a note (within 24 hours) indicating the reason(s) for the absence.

Why wasn't November 6 considered for a make-up day?

More than half of the division's school buildings are used as election polling locations. This is a high-volume election day that will bring many voters to the polls during school hours. Traffic congestion and parking during student arrival times are also a concern.

While election day has not historically been a scheduled school day or potential make-up day for the division, school division staff will examine options for future years.

Why isn't the division seeking a State of Emergency waiver?

While state law does allow the Virginia Board of Education to grant waivers from the school calendar requirements for "school closings resulting from a declared state of emergency," the division must submit evidence of efforts made to reschedule as many days as possible and certify that "every reasonable effort for making up lost teaching days or teaching hours was exhausted before requesting a waiver." At this time, the division is not eligible for the waiver.

What happens if we miss more days this school year?

Division staff consider multiple factors when developing make-up day options - the number of instructional days missed, the time period of when that instructional time was missed, the amount of banked time available, the identified holidays, work days and early release days remaining in the calendar, and the impact use of those days will have on staff and families.

While some banked time remains, the superintendent and the division leadership team determined that scheduling a make-up day at the next available opportunity is not only in our student's best academic interest but also prudent given the history of winter weather in recent years.


General Calendar Questions

How is the school division's calendar developed?

A calendar committee, which includes administrator, teachers, staff and parents meets several times to develop a draft calendar for the division. The committee takes into consideration state law, regional programs shared with other peninsula school division, and other factors affecting the calendar. The committee's recommendation is given to the superintendent and senior staff prior to presentation to the School Board for final approval.

Why doesn't the school year begin in August like other school systems?

The Code of Virginia requires that the first day of school for students occurs after Labor Day unless the division has received a waiver from the Virginia Department of Education. To receive a waiver a school system would need to demonstrate "good cause." Good cause is defined as either providing an experimental or innovative program or being closed an average of eight days per year during any five of the last 10 years. While YCSD has had several years with a higher than normal number of closings, the current ten-year average for the division is just over four days. Currently 44 of the 134 school divisions in the state are still bound by the post-Labor Day requirement.

Why aren't more days/banked time built into the calendar?

The 2018-19 school year calendar included 180 instructional days, the minimum number of instructional days required by the state, to allow for an extra day off at Thanksgiving and maintain the standard Winter Break. In some prior years, the calendar has been developed to include one or two additional instructional days if the schedule permitted.

An additional provision of the law is that school division must provide a minimum of 990 instructional hours. As all York County schools exceed that minimum 990-hours requirement, that excess time is considered “banked time” that can be used as “built-in” make-up days.

The division uses a combination of banked time along with adjustments to identified holidays, work days and early release days to ensure we meet both the state requirements and the instructional needs of our students.

State law requires school division to provide instruction for a minimum of 180 instructional days or 990 instructional hours. While the division has had years that included more than 180 days, the current calendar has 180 instructional days to allow for the additional day off from school before Thanksgiving.

Once a division closes for weather or other reasons, the state allows the division to either make up days according to a formula (make up the first five days missed, then one day for every two days missed) or use the instructional hours exceeding the 990 minimum, often called “banked time”. While the division does have banked time built into the school year, the total banked time can be unique to a school or school level due to different schedules.


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