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Springfield Schools have a plan to make up for days lost to ice storm

Crews in rain gear clean up fallen branches outside school building with work truck
Brian Richardson
Springfield Public Shools
Maintenance crews outside Springfield High School cleaning up tree debris after the January ice storm.

Schools will have to make up some of the instruction time they missed when the ice storm kept many Oregon students home this month.

The Springfield School District was hit hard. They lost power and some school buildings were damaged.

School was back in session by midweek last week. The Springfield School Board decided Tuesday to make President’s Day a school day and extend three scheduled half days to full school days.

People in raingear clean up branches on a school campus covered in ice with trees and broken branches.
Brian Richardson
Springfield Public Schools
The Springfield School district declared an emergency because of the January ice storm which caused down trees and power outages throughout the district.

“We’re excited to be able to have that extra time with students and not extend the school year,” said Brian Richardson, Communications Director for Springfield Public Schools. “But, we’re still inside of January right now as well, so there’s always the possibility that we can get some more inclement weather. We’re going to cross our fingers that we’ll get to keep the calendar as is.”

Richardson says the district estimates the ice storm inflicted about $750,000 in damage across its 20 schools.

He said they’re grateful it wasn’t worse. The district was able to reopen all of its schools a week after the ice started to thaw.

“We’re just really fortunate for not only the crews but the contractors, our own crews, but the contractors as well, who worked so hard,” Richardson said.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of Education said it's possible that schools won't have to make up all of the lost instructional time. The Oregonian reports that the agency is working on a plan "to enable any district affected by the recent storm to apply for a waiver of no more than 14 hours."

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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