Thanks to Mother Nature's ice and snow, many Illinois school districts have exhausted the approved emergency days built into their school calendars. So, if Illinois gets hit by another major winter storm, what happens next?

No More Snow Days in Illinois?

I think we can all agree, 2024 has been off to rough start in Illinois. We've dealt with snow, ice, and frigid temps all in the last two weeks, and it feels like kids have been out of school more than they have been in class ever since returning from holiday break.

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My kids go to school in Pecatonica, and as of this week they have used 5 E-learning days this school year.

As a parent, I appreciate the school district's decision to use E-learning days instead of snow/emergency days, because it means the days missed will NOT need to be made up at the end of the school year.

RELATED: Is a 'Warmer Than Normal' Spring Ahead for Illinois?

The one thing I didn't know is that there are a limited number of E-learning days allowed each year by the Illinois State Board of Education. Now Pecatonica, as well as many schools throughout Illinois, have used them all.

So...what happens next? It's only January, and I'm sure more winter storms will be coming!


Emergency Days for Illinois Schools

To fully understand the issue Illinois schools are facing we need to clarify school attendance guidelines according to the Illinois State Board of Education;

Each school board shall annually prepare a calendar for the school term, specifying the opening and closing dates and providing a minimum term of at least 185 days to insure 176 days of actual pupil attendance.

Every Illinois school district's calendar has 5 emergency days for snow, etc. built into it, and many have 5 E-learning days accounted for too. Emergency days need to be made up, E-learning days do not.

RELATED: Three Things You Should Never Do While Shoveling Snow in Illinois

Will Illinois Schools Be Turning to 'Act of God' Days?

As of yet, Pecatonica has not used any of their emergency days, but on Wednesday the Superintendent of the Pecatonica Community School District sent out a message that said in part;

 If we end up exhausting all five of our emergency days, we would then apply through the ROE (Regional Offices of Education) for Act of God Days (AOG) if something happened that did not allow us to come to school due to safety issues. 

Basically, 'Act of God Days' will only be approved when all emergency days have been used, and will NOT need to be made up at the end of the year.

If your child's school district has used emergency days instead of E-learning days so far this year, I guess your summer break is starting 5 days later AND the rest of your winter fate lies in the hands of the Regional Offices of Education.

Keep your fingers crossed for no more major winter storms!

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