For those keeping track of school days missed because of winter weather in Howard County: Tuesday didn't count. True, public school students were out of school amid a winter storm, but classes were scheduled to be canceled anyway because it was a professional work day for teachers.
But Wednesday's cancellation of classes because of snow and ice has given the school system four missed days this year, and school officials say there's just one snow day left in the academic calendar.
The snow and unseasonably cold weather that followed it have altered the schedules of many educational institutions in the county, disrupting classes and events for prekindergartners to adults.
Even some of the "backup" educational outlets have been affected. Howard County libraries were closed because of weather Tuesday. Libraries are often popular destinations when schools are out, but when they opened late Wednesday as schools were closed, they saw scant traffic, officials said. Subzero temperatures were likely to blame, they said.
Among those who did visit the library for school work was Nicholas Kolasny, a Columbia resident and freshman at Loyola Blakefield in Towson. He was there around 3 p.m., and said that during a normal day at school he would have been in art or English class.
The library visit came after exhausting other activities. "I've studied for exams, played X-Box and played outside a little," Nicholas said.
Nicholas' mother, Alice Kolasny, teaches at Bollman Bridge Elementary School in Jessup. She said her husband works at Johns Hopkins and her daughter attends University of Maryland School of Dentistry in Baltimore, so the family remained busy checking school closures.
Howard Community College also closed Tuesday, marking the school's first shutdown since Dec. 10.
Howard County Recreation and Parks also canceled classes and events.
Thus far, Howard County schools have been closed Dec. 9 for snow and ice and Dec. 10, Jan. 3 and Jan. 22 for snow. Howard schools spokeswoman Rebecca Amani-Dove said Thursday the school system has no timeline for deciding whether to amend the academic calendar for weather-related events.
"As of right now, we have one more snow day," said Amani-Dove, "and we're beginning to have discussions of what our options are should we have a need for additional inclement weather days."
Howard PTA Council President Christina Delmont-Small said Wednesday that she's already fielding calls from parents about the remainder of the year.
"I told them there's no reason concerning ourselves with it right now because winter's not over yet," said Delmont-Small. "I believe more in a let's-wait-and-see philosophy. It's just better to sit and wait."
The week's closure and delay altered a January schedule that was already affected by New Year's Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Next month will also see schools close three hours early some days for parent-teacher conferences, and schools will be closed for Presidents Day.
"The kids, of course, are trying to figure it out, because most kids want to have as many snow days as possible and get out on time" at the end of the year, said Delmont-Small. "Sometimes those two are mutually exclusive — but kids don't always see it that way."