By Megan Northcote
Dec. 13, 2012. Already, Boone Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Daniel Meyer has noticed a visible decrease in the amount of traffic and parking around Watauga County as Appalachian State University students complete finals and prepare to go home for the holidays.
Each year as the holiday season approaches, Meyer said, the student population in Watauga and Avery Counties declines as the number of tourists increases, generating additional revenue for businesses in the High Country.
Sue Freeman, executive director of the Avery County Chamber of Commerce said most of the students from Lees-McRae work or intern in Avery County over most of the holiday season instead of going home. There is also a rise in the number of tourists coming in for the ski season, which adds to economic revenue.
Below are the holiday break opening and closing dates for public schools and higher education institutions in Watauga and Avery County:
Watauga County Schools
On Thursday, Dec. 20, Watauga County Schools will have an early release day. Pre-K through eighth grade will dismiss at noon and high schools will dismiss at 1 p.m. Lunch will be served and buses will run their usual routes.
Watauga County Schools will close for the holidays on Friday, Dec. 21 and will reopen for students on Monday, Jan. 7.
Avery County Schools
Avery County Schools will also have an early release day at noon on Thursday, Dec. 20, except for Newland Elementary School, which will dismiss at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Public schools will close for the holidays Friday, Dec. 21 with an optional teacher workday on Wednesday, Jan. 2. Students return to school on Thursday, Jan. 3.
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute
Caldwell Community College will close for faculty and staff on Friday, Dec. 21 and will return on Wednesday, Jan. 2. The last day of classes at Caldwell Community College is Tuesday, Dec. 18. Students return to class on Monday, Jan. 7.
The college will close for the holidays from Friday, Dec. 21 through Tuesday, Jan. 1. Students are already on winter break and will return Wednesday, Jan. 16 for the first day of classes.
Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University will close for the holidays from Monday, Dec. 24 through Thursday, Dec. 27 and again for New Years Day on Tuesday, Jan. 1. Students will return for the first day of classes on Monday, Jan. 14.