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Acting Education Commissioner Coleman Circulates Advisory on School Closures and the School Calendar

February 15, 2011

Acting Education Commissioner George A. Coleman recently issued an advisory to all Connecticut Superintendent of Schools regarding whether the State Department of Education would consider waiving the 180 school day requirement in light of the unprecedented inclement weather. In his advisory, Mr. Coleman emphasizes the legal requirement, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-16, that public schools be in session for at least 180 days per school year. He further emphasized that the Department does not ordinarily support waiver requests for snow days and that boards of education should anticipate that such requests will not be considered.

Mr. Coleman’s advisory also focused on graduation requirements in light of the excessive snow days. Mr. Coleman reminds boards of education that if they adopted a school calendar with a specified graduation date they may still hold graduation on that date, regardless of the number of school closings that occur during the year. However, if at the time of graduation, school has not been in session for at least 180 days, seniors would be required to return to school after graduation to complete the 180 day requirement. Boards of education may also, after April 1st, establish a graduation date that would provide for 180 school days. If the school district experiences any other delays or closing thereafter, the graduation may be held on the designated day provided that the seniors return to school to complete the 180 day requirement. The full text of this advisory can be found here.

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