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Mid-Ohio Valley schools running out of scheduled snow days

Swings at the Washington Elementary School in Marietta hang heavy with snow and were unused on Friday. Classes were canceled because of the snow storm. (Photo by Art Smith)

PARKERSBURG — Most schools in the region were closed Friday when a storm dumped at least 1-2 inches of snow.

Systems are nearing the end of snow days that are built into the calendar.

West Virginia law requires a minimum of 180 days of instruction.

In Wood County, the snow day on Friday was the last one built into the 2021-22 school calendar. Any days missed past this point will be made up at the end of the school year, communications chief Mike Erb said.

Calendar changes are made by the Board of Education, he said.

The slide at the Neal Elementary School playground is covered with snow on Friday. Wood County Schools used its last snow day on Friday. (Photo by Art Smith)

“Any changes to the calendar, including adding days, have to be brought to the Wood County Board of Education for approval. As of right now, the last day of school for students is May 27, a Friday,” Erb said. “If we were to have another snow day, the school year would extend to May 31, a Tuesday, as Monday, May 30, is the Memorial Day holiday.”

The calendar is created each year by a committee of administrators, teachers and residents of the community, Erb said. The process is challenging because there are multiple requirements on how many days of instruction must be provided, when certain training days are scheduled, holidays and the length of employee contracts, he said.

“The Wood County Board of Education places multiple draft calendars on public comment each year and holds two public hearings to receive community input,” said Erb, adding the calendar approved by the school board is then approved by the West Virginia Department of Education.

Belpre City Schools on Friday used its first Blizzard Bag day. The state allows five snow-day closures, calamity days, and three additional Blizzard Bag days for a total of eight days that can be lost before the calendar is adjusted.

Calamity days one to five will not be made up. Day six, seven and eight will be on-line make up days. All calamity days after the eighth day will be made up on Jan. 18, Feb. 15, Mar 29-31, according to Belpre schools.

Marietta City Schools were closed Friday, the sixth snow day taken since Jan. 7. The fifth day was on Tuesday.

Additional days missed beyond the five calamity days will be made up. The Marietta City Schools Board of Education will make up days at the first three days of spring break or at the end of the school year as necessary at the board’s discretion.

Spring break is March 7-11.

As for the weather, today is expected to be sunny with the next chance of snow on Sunday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures are forecast to be warmer next week, too.

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