By Jesse Wood
Feb. 14, 2014. As of Valentine’s Day on Friday, Watauga County Schools has missed 14 days of school due to inclement weather for the 2013-14 school year. That compares with 16 snow days for Avery County Schools.
While the weather has affected instruction for both districts, the two school systems have gone about making days up differently. Watauga County Schools took on Saturday school in January and have already made up two snow days with school on the weekend.
In January, ACS Supt. David Burleson stressed that Saturday school would be a last resort, preferring to tack on 30 minutes of class time Monday through Thursday. Since Feb. 3, ACS has made up instructional hours utilizing this method. Leslie Laws, an administrative assistant at ACS, said that the school system would add 30 minutes onto school days indefinitely this year. She added that the last day of school is currently June 9 with the school year ending no late than June 13 due to state law. ACS spokeswoman Martha Davis mentioned that the district is “trying to honor the request to keep our spring break and graduate June 6,” which until this week, she said, was the case.
For WCS, Marshall Ashcraft, spokesman for the school system, mentioned that as of Valentine’s Day the school session ends June 12.
In the past five years, WCS have missed 20, 5, 22, 26 and 18 days of school throughout the entire year. Laws mentioned that 16 days missed so far is “about average,” noting that in 1987-88 ACS missed 18 days and in 1995-96 missed 22 days. Laws also said that the school calendar committee works in 15 snow days into the calendar.
With half of February and a full March left, the schools in the High Country are sure to be closed some more.
Check out an updated ACS calendar below. WCS, which hasn’t updated its calendar in February, posts their version here.