Anchorage school days will get longer to make up for snow days

The Anchorage School District will extend the school day by a half hour for all grades starting Monday to make up for days lost during last month’s major snowstorms.

Students lost seven days of instruction during and after the storms. Instead of adding days to the end of the school year, the district opted to add 30 minutes to the school day from Jan. 30 through March 9.

The district put the policy forward in December, and it was approved unanimously by the school board Monday night.

The minimum number of school days required for Alaska students is 170, and the district builds in 172 to allow for snow days each year.

Officials said they did not want to extend the school year to keep from interfering with graduations, travel, vacation and summer plans. They instead canceled the previously scheduled Feb. 22- Feb. 23 school conferences and turned those days into school days. Officials also canceled a teacher in-service day for Feb. 24, making it an instructional day, in addition to the added half hour every day.

Sven Gustafson, the district’s chief academic officer, said that if there are more snow days this school year, the district will instead transition to remote learning.

“Schools have developed at a school level what each remote opportunity will look like,” Gustafson said by email.

This school year, the Mat-Su school district switched to remote learning on days when snow and ice have made roads unsafe, including on Tuesday.

Morgan Krakow

Morgan Krakow covers education and general assignments for the Anchorage Daily News. Before joining the ADN, she interned for The Washington Post. Contact her at