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Snow adds extra days to end of year

Halifax County students returned to school Wednesday after six straight days out of the classroom.

“We are very pleased to have our students back in school today,” said Deputy Superintendent Larry Clark on Wednesday.

Two of the latest days missed, Jan. 14-Lee-Jackson Day and Jan. 17-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, were built into the school calendar as holidays, but students will be required to make up the other four days that were missed due to inclement weather, according to Clark.

Schools also were closed Dec. 16 and 17 for inclement weather making a total of six days missed, the deputy superintendent said.
“Makeup days for the first five days missed are built into the school calendar,” he explained. “After five days, one day is made up for every two days missed up through day 11.”

Clark said as of now, students would be required to make up five days, May 27 and 31, June 1, 2 and 3. The first five days missed are made up one for one, but one day is made up for days six and seven, another day is made up for days eight and nine, and another day would be made up for days 10 and 11.

“If we do not miss another day, the last day for students would be June 3,” he said. “If we miss another day for inclement weather, we would have to make up one day, and according to our school calendar that would be June 6.”

Clark said the 2006 Virginia General Assembly set directives how local school divisions would make up days missed. With additional wintry weather forecast for today and Tuesday and the month of February to go, the deputy superintendent said the school system may not have seen the last school day missed for bad weather.

“The code section is very precise in addressing how school systems are to make up missed days,” Clark said. “A school system can request a waiver from the Virginia Department of Education if all the time missed cannot be made up.”

Clark said the date of graduation at Halifax County High School has not been determined. “Mr. (Albert) Randolph and his faculty and staff will have to make that decision,” Clark explained. “If no additional days are missed, graduation could be held the first weekend in June.

“Many schools have adopted the college model and hold their graduation on a Saturday morning,” Clark added.

When asked about the process for closing schools and delaying opening of schools when weather is a factor, Clark said school officials put the safety of students, faculty and staff members first.

“We always err on the side of safety,” he explained. “If we determine it is not safe for buses and cars to be on the road, we will close or delay school opening.”

Two Mondays, Easter Monday, April 25, and Memorial Day, May 30, are scheduled as holidays for students and staff, but the school board could consider making those days teaching days if students miss any more days due to inclement weather, Clark said.