Snow days likely to extend school year

PARKERSBURG – Snow days likely are going to push the end of the Wood County school year to June 7, according to an administrator.

Wood County Schools Assistant Superintendent Sue Woodward said the county has had four snow days and three 2-hour delays so far this year. The snow days likely will extend the school year to June. 7.

Schools were scheduled for students until June 3, but the snow days have pushed the date back. The move will have to be approved by the board of education, but Woodward said the date change is what administrators will request.

The calendar can accommodate two more snow days. The latest students can attend school is June 11. Teacher contracts run out June 13. Contracts require teachers have two days for support enhancement and to prepare for closure without instruction, Woodward said.

“If those two days are exceeded, there aren’t many options to go back and pick up days,” Woodward said. “They can re-examine the calendar, but it so tight from here on out it would be very difficult.

Woodward said by law you have to allow so many planned and professional development days.

“They still work 200 days. It’s not like they don’t work,” Woodward said.

Wood County isn’t the only school system facing snowy weather this year. Many surrounding counties have had as many or more snow days since the start of school.

Mike Wells, superintendent of Pleasants County Schools, said classes were canceled again on Tuesday due to bad weather.

“That’s day five for us,” he said. “It was a combination of both (snow and ice). They’d gotten the roads cleared from the day before, but we got another 2-3 inches and the road crews had to start all over again.”

Wells said the school system has six make-up days built into its calendar.

“We potentially have some early-dismissal days we can make into full instructional days if we need them,” he said. “But, with the way we build days into the calendar, we try to get all of our days in.”

Last year was much different.

“It’s not unusual for us to get snow, but last year was a pretty mild winter,” Wells said. “We only had one snow day last year.”

Last year in Wood County the school system encountered only one snow day. In 2010-2011 there were eight.

Woodward said snow days in the area are a rollercoaster. From 1999-2002 there were no snows days in the county. In 2002-03 there were 10.

Wells said officials already are working on a calendar for the 2013-14 school year.

“You build them trying to anticipate these kinds of issues,” he said.

“We are one of the counties that it really hinges on how the storm comes across the Ohio River. Sometimes we are missed entirely and sometimes we get it,” Woodward said.

School officials didn’t close school in Wood County until early Tuesday morning. Woodward said transportation officials were out Tuesday morning just after 3 a.m. hoping it would warm up enough to allow road crews to get to the road base.

“Most of the county roads hadn’t been touched.” she said. “It warmed up just enough last night to refreeze. At 4 a.m. a transportation guy tried to stop for a deer and kept going.

“It is not our drivers as much as people in the cars; folks in the cars and kids standing by the side of the road with the those folks going by.”

Woodward said looking at the crystal ball it appears students will be back in school for the rest of the week.

“We hope this will be it,” she said.