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Avery Schools Makes Up Snow Days By Holding Classes 20 Minutes Longer/Day Throughout Year

By Jesse Wood

Instead of holding Saturday classes like schools in surounding counties, such as Watauga and Ashe, to make up snow days, the public school system in Avery County operates an extra 20 minutes per day throughout the entire year.

This format has been beneficial to Avery County Schools, and to date, Avery County Schools has made up 10 of the 14 snow days so far during the 2014-15 school year, according to ACS Supt. David Burleson and ACS spokesperson Libby Wise.

“The teachers and principals really like the added time,” Wise said.

Typically, ACS misses an average of 15 days due to inclement weather, Wise added.

Burleson said that as of today, the last school day for students before the summer break is June 3.

This is compared, for example, to Watauga County Schools, which currently lists its last day of school on June 9, according to WCS spokesperson Marshall Ashcraft. WCS has missed 13 days due to snow, and two of those have been made up on Saturdays so far.

By state law, schools must have a minimum of 185 days or 1,025 hours of instruction. Because of lobbying by the summer tourism industry, schools in the North Carolina Public School system are not allowed to begin earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26 and end later than the Friday closest to June 11.

Schools, however, are afforded a weather-related exemption. If the waiver is granted, schools can start classes no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 19.

By the way, today – Thursday, Feb. 25 – was a snow day – and considering RaysWeather.com is forecasting “heavier snow squalls” later today and into tomorrow, Friday might just be another day for the kids to play in the snow.