HARTFORD, Conn. — Education officials in the Northeast worried today about having to shorten school vacations to make up for all the days students have missed because of power failures caused by last weekend’s snowstorm, combined with days lost to Hurricane Irene at the start of the academic year.

Many schools are closed this entire week as crews continue efforts to restore power to about 760,000 utility customers who remain in the dark in several states today. Last weekend’s storm dumped an inch to more than 30 inches of wet, heavy snow across the region and took down thousands of trees and wires, cutting power to more than 3 million homes and businesses.

Connecticut schools must have at least 180 days of classes during the academic year and finish by June 30 under state law. Many districts have already lost five to 10 days of classes and used up most of the snow days they set aside as a cushion.

New Jersey officials also are concerned about having used up a bunch of snow days before the winter even officially starts. The number of schools that remain closed dwindled to a handful today, although some that reopened delayed their start times.

Connecticut was hard hit by the snowstorm and still had 430,000 customers without power today, followed by Massachusetts with 140,000 and New Jersey with 91,000. Some homes and businesses may not get their electricity restored until next week.

Thousands of people spent another night in warm shelters, and the number of deaths climbed to around 30 with more reports of carbon monoxide poisonings.

The Massachusetts attorney general called for investigations of the long-term power failures and utility companies’ responses, while Connecticut officials said they expected to review the restoration efforts.

Some Connecticut school officials were considering shortening the February vacations to make up for the lost days.

In West Hartford, the school year began later than in many other districts, so the town wasn’t affected by outages caused by Irene, which was a still-powerful tropical storm by the time it hit the state. But with this week’s cancellations, it would enter winter with five days already gone.

West Hartford Assistant Superintendent Tom Moore, who drives the snowy roads before dawn on school days to determine whether classes should be canceled, said the school year is now scheduled to end around June 20 or 21 unless more snow days push it later.

“Winter isn’t off to an auspicious start, I’ll tell you that,” he said Wednesday at Conard High School, which was being used as a shelter.

The storm’s timing was also tough on high school seniors, many of whom faced Nov. 1 deadlines to apply for early acceptance consideration at their favorite colleges.

Beth Bye, a West Hartford resident and state senator, put her teenage daughter, Caroline, on a plane early Wednesday morning to visit the University of Chicago, figuring it would be a productive and enjoyable use of time off from school and helpful to her college decision.

“For people who have seniors in high school, this is such a critical week,” she said. “Everybody’s been incredibly patient, but it’s hard when all of our routines are routines are sort of thrown up in the air for so long.”

Dozens of colleges and universities nationwide, meanwhile, extended their early decision deadlines because of the snowstorm, as the widespread power failures made it impossible for many students to email their applications by the Tuesday deadline.

In Massachusetts, Wellesley College’s dean of admissions, Jennifer Desjarlais, said she started getting calls from stressed high school students Monday concerned they couldn’t meet the following day’s deadline. Wellesley extended it a week and will extend it further for some if necessary.

“We are remaining flexible,” she said. “For us, it’s been driven by a desire to help students to manage anxiety.”

Desjarlais estimated that the extended deadline affects up to 20 applicants. The school routinely gets about 275 early decision applications per year.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.