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SNOW DAYS PILE UP FOR SCHOOLS

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When will it end?
That’s the question many school administrators, parents and maybe even a few students are asking as snow days keep piling up.
After another dump of snow canceled classes Feb. 3, Grant County Schools brought their total of missed days to 13.

Grant County only missed seven days last school year.
In the calendar approved before the school year, the district accounted for 14 makeup days, meaning the school board will likely have to go back to the drawing board with no end in sight for winter.

The original last day for Grant County Schools was May 14.

As of Feb. 4, the last day for students stood at June 4 with a chance for more inclement weather this week to push the date further or alter the school calendar.
The school board will discuss amending the calendar during its Feb. 13 meeting.
One likely outcome is school will now be in session on President’s Day on Feb. 17.

Other potential discussions could be whether to use part of spring break to make up the piling up snow days.

“If we use President’s Day, that will leave us two more days to miss before we have to adjust the calendar further,” said Nancy Howe, Grant County Schools public information officer. “Extending our day, however, is not an option as the state recently revised the law and now requires a minimum of 170 days in attendance.”

While some of the missed days have involved frigid temperatures, Scott Shipp, director of operations for Grant County Schools, said the closures have been due to road conditions.
“The county has been working very hard on the roads, but we will not send a bus out on some of our side roads until we know that they are safe for our kids,” he said.
Williamstown Independent Schools have had better luck, missing only seven days so far because of weather.

A smaller, more compact district and buses not having to travel on more rural roads affords Williamstown the ability to stay in school more often.

Williamstown originally was set to end school May 21. The school board is expected to vote on a revised calendar Feb. 10 that would have the closing date be May 27, as long as no more days are missed after Feb. 4.

Under the plan, two days will be made up on President’s Day on Feb. 17 and on Feb. 18.

The district is also looking to get creative in making up two additional days. First, students would now also attend school all day March 12 instead of having an early release day.

The district already has more instructional minutes built into the day than required. Combine that with a week where recess would be replaced with physical education instruction by teachers and the district would be able to make up two snow days. Currently, all other missed days will be added to the end of the calendar.
“We have been fortunate in recent years to have had mild winters,” said David Poer, irector of pupil personnel for the district. “We will just have to make the best of it.”