EDUCATION
02/02/2011 08:40 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

School Closings From Midwest To Northeast

From stalled buses to stalled attention spans, mounds of white stuff means one thing: It's snow day season.

Across the Midwest to the Northeast, snow and ice have kept teachers and students at home throughout the past week.

For the first time in 12 years, the Chicago Public School system told its 410,000 students to take a snow day today and designated another one for tomorrow, the Associated Press reports.

By midday Wednesday, 20.2 inches of snow had piled up in Chicago. It's the third-largest snow record in a city that takes pride in its winter-weather heartiness. Even President Obama once joked about how the elements don't impede outdoor recess in Chicago, according to Politico.

In New York City, it's last week's snow-induced school closings that are continuing to dump problems on educators, says The New York Times City Room Blogs. The Teachers' Union said yesterday at least 1,000 New York City Department of Education employees found out they'll lose a day of pay for not coming to work on last week's snow day due to confusion over title categorization. Teacher trainers and social workers are among those who thought they were included when the mayor told non-emergency workers to stay home last Thursday.

"I thought I had a snow day," said a school psychologist in Manhattan. "I had no concept that it was a possibility that I was an emergency worker."

After grievances and inquiries, the policy changed yesterday to allow teachers to write a letter explaining their absence and to possibly be excused.

One East Coast educator has had a different lot of luck, however. During a snow day last week, a South Jersey teacher was the sole player in a hotel casino. He hit the jackpot of almost $5 million playing penny slots, reports NBC 10 in Philadelphia.