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Avery Schools Will Have Full Spring Break; Adding Make Up Days at End of Year

By Tim Gardner

     Avery County Public Schools will have a full spring break as originally scheduled according to Interim Superintendent Bill Miller.

     Despite missing 21 days due to inclement winter weather during the 2017-18 school year, students, faculty and staff members will not lose any of their spring break, which will run April 2-6.

     Besides the large number of missed days, Avery Schools also have had starting times of classes extended by an hour-to-three hours several other days due to inclement winter weather.

     Missed school days has also pushed up when schools end this year. The current school year was set to close on June 6. But the Avery County Board of Education has forfeited two days, extending the date of schools closing for the 2017-18 academic year to June 8.

     However, the actual date the school year ends still will be determined by the weather. More missed days due to weather could push its closing date up either one or two days in June. The State of North Carolina requires that schools close for the 2017-18 year on June 10 regardless of inclement weather or any other factors.

     That is different than years ago when there was no mandatory school closing date as the State of North Carolina previously stipulated that its public school students attended 180 days. But it revised that policy, currently requiring students to attend classes for 1,080 hours each school year. In emergency situations due to inclement weather, freaks of nature, disasters or other similar happenings, the state can lower the hours students must attend each school year to 1,025.

     Miller acknowledged that under the terms of the revised policy, it’s easier to make up school time missed by hours instead of whole days because of snow or other bad weather conditions.

     He commented: “That new state revision gives schools systems much more flexibility for making up missed school time and is particularly beneficial for schools in mountain counties like ours (Avery) since we have more snow and bad winter weather than most regions in the state. And often, Avery has the absolute worst weather of any such school system.”

   Avery started the 2017-18 school year a week later than normal last August, which Miller said may still make it more difficult to make up missed school time if additional bad weather forces school closings or delays.


     He noted that school could be held on one of more Saturdays if more days are missed due to inclement weather.

     But he added that having school on Saturdays would be a last resort to make up missed school time and that the State of North Carolina only allows schools to be open on a Saturday if schools were closed one or more days during that week. By regulations, North Carolina Public Schools cannot be open for classes more than five days per week.

     Avery Schools were open on Monday, January 15, despite it being a Federal Holiday (Martin Luther King Day), to make up a school day already missed. Avery Schools also operated on February 9 for students to help make up missed school time. That date was previously scheduled as a workshop day in which students would have been out of school. Additionally, Avery will have school on Memorial Day (Monday, May 28) to help make up a missed school day.   Schools were originally scheduled to be closed then.

     The longest closing date for students, teachers and staff in Avery County Schools came forty years ago during the 1977-78 year when they didn’t shut down until June 27 due to many missed days from inclement winter weather.