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Gwinnett parents oppose schools' snow days plan | Education

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Gwinnett parents oppose schools' snow days plan

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- Gwinnett County parents are sounding off about the school district's plan to add 30 minutes to each student's school day.

It's part of the effort to make up for the time lost during the snow storm two weeks ago.

Since the governor declared a state of emergency, school districts have the option of using a waiver and keeping the rest of the school schedule the way it is. 

Most school districts took the waiver, but Gwinnett wants to make the days up before the end of the school year.

"We are committed to all 180 days of education," said Gwinnett County Schools Spokesman Jorge Quintana.  

In addition to changing the last day of school, an extra 30 minutes will be added to each school day from March 3 to May 14.

It is up to individual schools on how they choose to use the time, but it must be spent doing some sort of academics.

Patty Beelen has two children in the system, and says the plan wreaks havoc with her schedule when it comes to sports and homework.

"My daughter already has an hour to two hours of homework. She'll now be getting home off the bus around six o'clock at night. How are we going to fit in homework and anything extra curricular," said Beelen.

Beelen is not alone. A number of parents have lit up social media with complaints. Some have started circulating a petition against the district's plan.

In a letter sent to Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, parent PJ Scafidi wrote in part:

"You are disrupting children and their families lives!!!
Some of us cannot manipulate our schedules to accommodate your unreasonable decision!
Such as childcare and other things!!!"

Quintana insists the district looked at a number of options and decided it was best to make up the lost time on days students were already in classrooms.

"We're just not willing to give up those days of learning. Especially with assessments and other crucial tests coming up later in the spring," said Quintana.

Quintana said the hope is that some teachers can use the time to get kids prepped for those tests.

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