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Md., Va. May Cut Down School Year

As record amounts of snowfall incapacitated the Washington, D.C. region last week, officials in Maryland and Virginia began considering cutting the number of required instructional days as an alternative to extending the school year.

Maryland state law requires that students have 180 school days per grade level, which has left schools scrambling to make up the week of lost time. Some schools have suggested extending the school year into summer vacation, others have cancelled the President's Day holiday this upcoming Monday, and at least one district in Virginia has begun considering extending the school days from March through June.

Maryland Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick plans to make the recommendation to cut down the required days to the Maryland Board of Education, who has final say over the matter.

"Given the seriousness of this situation, we do have to take into consideration the instructional time but also the safety of students," Grasmick said, as she called the snow "historic."

While there is some flexibility in when state assessments can be administered, national tests like the Advanced Placement exams cannot be rescheduled. The Prince George's County (Md.) Superintendent plans to request that the state exams be pushed back state-wide as a result of the snow, but the AP exams must go along as previously scheduled.

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