by Madison V. Fisler
June 10, 2013. The last day of school for Watauga County Schools students will be on June 12. The last day will be an early release day, with the k-8 schools being released at noon and Watauga High School getting out at 1:00 p.m. Bag lunches will be provided for students who purchase lunch at school.
The reason for the students finishing so late into the summer were the remarkable number of closings that the county experienced due to snow. This year, the schools were canceled for 19 days in total, and delayed for many more.
This amount of closings is not uncommon at all for the county. According to records, three years ago the schools missed 26 days and in some years more than 30 days of school are missed.
“With school days we have to follow the school calendar law which states that we have to meet the state required number of days,” said Marshall Ashcraft, Director of Public Information for Watauga County Schools.
“When we miss 19 days we have to take steps to make them up. This year, we added on days to the year and shorted spring break to 3 days instead of 5.”
According to Ashcraft, there are many factors that go into the decision to close schools due to weather. They must take into consideration what the buses can do and take into consideration the fact that many high school students and school employees drive in from all over the county.
“We have to make sure that the system as a whole will have good attendance,” Ashcraft said. “Sometimes the roads are great in Boone, but not so much elsewhere.”
The last day of the after school program will be Tuesday, June 11. The after school program will operate for the usual hours on that date.
The first day back to school for students in Watauga County will be on Aug 19. Employees will return to the schools five days later on Aug 14.