Winter weather and missed schools days, it's just a part of living in the High Country but it can become frustrating for everyone involved when a streak of days are missed in a row. Such was the case over the last two weeks when 8 days were missed due to winter weather. After a record setting extremely warm December when no days were missed, a pretty much mild January when only 4 days were missed, and then the onslaught of winter weather for February it's easy to feel the frustration at times. The good news is “we are still below average for days missed” Dr. Scott Elliott, Watauga County Schools Superintendent tells WataugaOnline.com. “Since 1976, we have missed an average of 15 school days per year. Missing eight days in a row in February is certainly significant, but it has been worse in years past.” he adds.
And history proves he's right. Since 1976 there have been 15 different years when schools missed at least 8 days in a single month. The number of missed days record for February stands at 14, which occurred during both the 09-2010 & 1977-78 sessions. More recently there were 11 days missed in February 2014-15, 9 of which occurred on back to back weeks, with 5 in a row followed by 4 in a row after schools were able to be in session on that Monday. For January the record is 21 in 1976-77, followed by 17 in 1977-78.
Watauga Schools have missed 12 days so far this calendar year but two of those were made up on Saturdays so the number is down to 10, which have to be made up on teacher work days and by adding days at the end of the year. Dr. Elliott says that “If we have to miss more days, we have several options. Those include adding more days to the end of the school year, reducing the number of instructional days to less than 180, and taking days out of Spring Break.”
“We want to be in school every day that it is safe for our students and staff members to get to school. I am hoping that most of the bad weather is behind us and we sail smoothly into spring. That said, we all know that March can be a tricky month in our mountains. Let's just hope for warm weather and sunny skies.” Elliott added.
As of Monday February 22 the current last day for students is June 8. For more on the history of missed days visit Watauga County Schools Weather Closings History.