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Hawkins approves contingency plan to make up snow days

Jeff Bobo • Feb 5, 2018 at 12:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Snow days are fun while they last, but too much of a good thing might end up costing Hawkins County students a holiday and three days at the end of the school year.

On Thursday, the Hawkins County Board of Education put into place a contingency plan to make up as many as four days if needed by canceling the Presidents’ Day holiday later this month and adding three days to the end of the school year.

If that’s not enough, the BOE might also add a half-hour to the school day, after which every 13 days would increase the number of official days attended by one.

It’s not uncommon for the BOE to find itself looking for extra days in January and February to meet the minimum required by the state for a full school year. 

Hawkins County has an abundance of higher elevation and mountain roads that are narrow and winding and virtually impossible to keep clear when snow and freezing rain fall.

When winter weather hits, the school system will always err on the side of safety when it comes to calling off school due to hazardous road conditions.

A few years back, the BOE added a half-hour to the school day, which stockpiled 13 extra days in the bank.

Two of those days were set aside for teacher training, and both have been used already. As of Friday’s snow day, Hawkins County Schools had used 10 of the 11 remaining school days.

Although the BOE didn’t implement any changes to the 2017-18 calendar Thursday, it did authorize Director of Schools Steve Starnes to implement any or all of the contingency plan as needed.

Here are those changes in the order they will be implemented as needed:

1. Convert Monday, Feb. 19 (Presidents’ Day) to a regular school day from a holiday if the stockpiled days are exceeded prior to this date.

2. Convert Tuesday, May 22 to a regular school day from an in-service day if needed. The in-service day would be held on the last two full days of school from 3:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.

3. Convert Wednesday, May 23 to a regular school day from an abbreviated day if needed and move the abbreviated day to May 24.

4. Convert Thursday, May 24 to a regular school day from an abbreviated day if needed and move the abbreviated day to May 25.

5. If more than the above referenced days are needed, then the BOE would extend the school day by 30 minutes, with each 13 days equaling one missed day. The start time would be 7:45 a.m. and the dismissal time would be 3:15 p.m.

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