After 5 snow days, school closures may become `Act of God` days - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

After 5 snow days, school closures may become `Act of God` days

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Students in and around Chicago will have at least four school days to make up at the end of the year. The good news is that when it's this brutally cold out, the kids don't have to get up for school.

On the flip side, when it's warm and sunny in June, they will have to make up all these four days, and more if needed.

Averi DeKosta is making the best of her day off, coloring while at work with her mom. Tuesday will be her fourth day this year of weather canceled classes at Old St. Mary's School.

"I actually kinda like it because I get to be with my mom and I get to be with my dog," Averi said.

Her mother, Lauren Schuh, is ready for a break in the emergency days off.

"I'm ready to go back to work and have a full week back to school, but I understand it's the right thing to do for the children and it's the right thing to do for all the teachers that commute, cause not everyone lives as close to school as we do," Schuh said.

The State Board of Education requires all schools to build five emergency days into their school calendars. Those are all days that have to be made up because students are supposed to have 176 days of school.

So what happens when districts have to shut down for more than five days in a school year? Last year, due to flooding and other emergencies Marseilles students missed a total of nine days.

"They can do one of two things, they can simply modify their calendar and make up the time at the end of the school year, essentially extend the school year or they can apply for what's called an "Act of God Day"," State Board of Education spokesperson Mary Fergus said.

Those are days the students don't have to make up if approved by the Regional Superintendent and the State Superintendent.

In Washington, Illinois students missed three days after the tornado. Add that to any snow or cold days and they will likely be granted Act of God days off come June.

Historically Chicago does not exceed the five emergency days. However this year, with four days off already, it makes June vacation plans tricky for parents.

"It will affect it just for the simple fact that we normally leave around the middle of June, so they're making it up is really going to affect it a little bit," Charles Holley, who has a seventh grader, said.

"I know they have to make them up, so whatever we have to do we'll just have to work around it, I'm not thrilled about that, but that's how it is," Marsha Reed, mother of a sixth grader, said.

The other benefit of the "Act of God" days is that school districts still get their state money even though they don't make up those days. The State Board of Education's reasoning is that it didn't want to punish districts financially for things out of their control.

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