Wood County students have classes through June 10

PARKERSBURG – Snow days have pushed the end date for students in Wood County Schools’ to June 10, but any subsequent days missed will not be made up, officials said Thursday.

Schools throughout the region and state again were closed Thursday as single-digit temperatures were pushed by winds into negative numbers and some roads remained icy and slick. It marked the third day this week students have been out of school, with Monday being Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Wood County Schools announced Thursday night a two-hour delay for this morning.

Nearly all West Virginia’s 55 county school systems were closed or delayed Thursday.

School systems in Calhoun, Doddridge, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wirt and Wood counties also were closed Thursday. Gilmer County was on a two-hour delay.

In Ohio, most school systems, including Marietta City Schools, operated on a two-hour delay. Belpre City Schools operated as normal.

The Wood County Board of Education last week approved a calendar change which added four instructional days to make up for days lost to bitterly cold and snowy weather earlier this month. The board unanimously approved changing April 17, April 22, May 23 and June 6 from out-of-school days to instructional days.

Judy Johnson, curriculum director for Wood County Schools and a member of the district’s calendar committee, said due to this week’s missed days, the last day for students to attend classes will be June 10, a Tuesday, and the last day for teachers will be June 12, a Thursday.

Johnson said any additional days missed this school year will not be made up.

“We cannot make up any more days this year,” she said.

Next year’s calendar, however, will be different. Both Johnson and Superintendent Pat Law said changes in state code kick into effect for the 2014-15 school year and will radically change how the calendars work.

Among those changes, Johnson said, are a lack of protected days. For example, this year’s Spring Break, which runs March 24-28, cannot be taken to make up instructional days.

Next year, such days will not exist.

“Thanksgiving break, Spring Break, those are the kinds of things that may go away next year,” Johnson said.

Full details of the changes at the state level are still being determined, but Johnson said Wood County Schools plans to release a public survey Feb. 1 asking area families to rank the importance of different breaks, how early they would like to begin the school year and how late they would like to go.

The school system also is planning two public forums which will be announced at a later date. Those forums will allow members of the public to meet with district officials to discuss how the new state regulations will affect next school year’s calendar.

“It could prove controversial, so we want to give people plenty of opportunity to weigh in and understand the process,” Johnson said.

Law said state law requires school systems to make every effort to provide 180 days of instruction each school year. If the school system falls below that goal, it must provide in writing a reason. Law said the school system has had several years where due to weather issues it fell below the 180 days.

That could easily be the case again this year.

According to the National Weather Service, a wind chill advisory remains in effect until 10 a.m. today, with conditions that could feel as cold as 18 degrees below zero. Today’s high temperature is not expected to exceed 19. There’s a 60 percent chance of snow this evening, followed by an 80 percent chance Saturday and a 40 percent chance Sunday.

No snow is in the forecast for Monday, but temperatures are expected to drop from the low 30s over the weekend to a high of 20, followed by 16 on Tuesday.