By Jesse Wood
Jan. 21, 2014. Both Avery County Schools and Watauga County Schools cancelled Tuesday classes in anticipation of the winter storm that was forecasted for Tuesday. A decision for Wednesday is undecided as of Tuesday afternoon.
Watauga County Schools has announced that, weather permitting, it will hold school on Saturday, Jan. 24, if it also opens this Friday, Jan. 24.
(Avery County Schools has made no such announcement, but ACS Supt. David Burleson recently said that if the school system missed another full day, it would consider adding 30 minutes of school to Monday through Thursday classes. The final option would be Saturday school.)
“Saturday will be an early release day, with K-8 schools dismissing at 12:00 and the high school at 1:00. Pre-kindergarten classes and the afterschool program do not operate on Saturdays,” the announcement notes on the Watauga County Schools webpage.
After missing five days of school, Watauga County Schools held Saturday school on Jan. 11 on an early-release schedule.
The school’s inclement weather plan suggests that Watauga County Schools hold Saturday school once five or more days are missed due to the weather, however the superintendent has discretion to make appropriate changes, WCS spokesman Marshall Ashcraft said previously.
“[The policy] is not ironclad,” Ashcraft said.
The plan also notes that no more than two Saturdays in a four-week period and no more than two consecutive Saturdays are to be used to make up days missed due to bad weather.
Ashcraft added that due to starting “10 days later than in years passed,” the school system was holding Saturday schooling early this year to avoid the school year extending too far into June. As it stands, the last day of school is June 3 – not counting the most recent changes due to the weather, according to the 2013-14 school calendar.