Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 8, 2011

Accumulating snow days causes Mercer County schools to adjust calendar

PRINCETON — Another dose of snow and ice canceled or delayed school Friday in both Virginias, forcing many boards of education to readjust their calendars for the school year.

Friday marked the seventh snow day for Mercer County Schools, Superintendent  Deborah Akers said. School officials announced Thursday that the fall semester would be extended to help make up for lost instructional time; the first semester will now end Jan. 21. High school students will start their second semester Jan. 24,

March 4, 11, 18, 25 and 31 will be converted to instructional days along with April 1, Akers said. The six days were originally OS or outside school days on the school calendar.

“The only other days we have after rescheduling those are a portion of the IS (Instructional Support) days. Last year the state gave us permission to reschedule those,” Akers recalled.

Students would report two hours late on rescheduled IS days, she said. A typical IS day is used for student tutoring, facility senate meetings and curriculum development. If the day is used for instructional time, two hours must be reserved for faculty senates.

In Monroe County, the school system has had seven snow days and four days when schools opened after a two hour delay. Superintendent Kevin Siers was not available for comment Friday.

McDowell County Schools were open Friday after a two hour delay. Superintendent Jim Brown said the school system had missed seven days. Seven school environment days will be converted to instructional days, and one more day is available for rescheduling.

Across the state line in Tazewell County, Va., students were in school Friday. They missed eight days of school during the storms of December 2010, said Assistant Superintendent Christine Kinser.

All of the missed days will be added to the end of the school year, Kinser said.

“School was going to close May 20, so now we’re looking at June 2,” she said. “And, of course, that’s just temporary because we have January, February and March.”

In Bland County, Va., Friday was the ninth snow day that closed schools, said Nancy Bralley, assistant to the superintendent.

“Well, the only thing I know for sure is that we have a teacher work day Feb. 19, and will use that as a make up day. At this point, that’s the only decision made. The board will have to act on that at a later date,” Bralley said.

Buchanan County, Va. schools were closed Friday. So far, the school system has lost nine days of school, according to a secretary at Grundy High School. Officials with the board of education were not available for comment Friday.

Schools in Giles County, Va. were open after a two hour delay, and had lost only two days to snow so far this school year.

— Contact Greg Jordan at

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