Local school districts are scrambling to catch up after the snowstorms that swept across most of the country the past two weeks caused numerous school cancellations.
TCU’s campus closed for a total of five days. Public schools also were forced to shut down across North Texas, according to a Feb. 3 article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Although the yearly schedule already has two snow days built in, the weather required students to miss an additional three days, which has put many classes behind.
According to the article, Texas schools are required to have 180 instructional days by the state. After snow days are used, the district can reschedule makeup days on a Saturday or holiday, lengthen the school day or extend the school year.
In extreme situations, however, districts can request a waiver. This would mean students wouldn’t have to make up missed days, and, according to the article, many districts in Texas plan on asking for waivers this year.
This leaves teachers forced to figure out how to make up for lost time. Many are reworking schedules, combining class days or cutting out necessary material.
Since TCU is a university, it sets its own standards on instructional days. Students, however, are still required to learn all the material for their classes as determined by professors. As of Feb. 9, officials did not have proposals for how TCU students should make up for lost time.
Make up days, though, really aren’t needed.
Options that exist for public schools to determine makeup days are not always feasible for colleges. We cannot lengthen our school day, because classes last all day and schedules would become too complicated for both faculty and students. We do not have days set aside for parent-teacher conferences that can be used. Designating Saturdays as instructional days would interfere with scheduled sports and other school activities.
College is based on self-motivation. A lot of the work students do is on their own time anyway. After five extra days off, surely it is not too much to ask students to put in a little extra work. Students must realize that the next couple weeks may be a little stressful until classes are caught up.
This should be a class-by-class case. If professors are able to schedule a whole semester’s work, then they are capable of determining the best way for their classes to catch up. At the same time, they must keep in mind that students are catching up in the rest of their classes, too.
School days should not be added, and holidays should not be taken away, which fortunately won’t happen, according to the Skiff article. If a particular class really needs to meet, the professor can work with his students and choose what works best. As long as students understand the effort involved and professors are willing to be flexible, classes can hopefully be back to where they need to be in no time.
Chancey Herbolsheimer is a freshman journalism and political science double major from Amarillo.