WINFIELD, W.Va. — Putnam County students have been in school two days since the start of the Christmas break. This was to have been an exam week, but school officials decided Wednesday to forgo 1st semester finals because of the ongoing water emergency..

“We’ve determined it really wouldn’t be fair to those students to ask them to come back and take exams,” said Karen Nowviskie, with the Putnam County School System.

School officials were just considering the option earlier Wednesday but decided to drop the exams later in the day after it was determined schools would not be able to open Thursday. Putnam County intends to have school Friday.

Two-thirds of Putnam County schools were impacted by the water emergency. Nowviskie said they considered a plan which would have gotten all of the schools open and brought in water, food, and other resources from those schools served by the Putnam Public Service District or City of Hurricane water plant, but the plan included too much red tape.

“We learned we couldn’t really do that without having the health department come in an do some certifications,” she said.

There was also thought given to opening the schools which were unaffected by the water emergency, but Nowviskie said that too was rejected since many of the students in those schools had no water service and absenteeism was expected to be high.

The question now facing school officials is how to make up the missed instructional time.  Putnam County had already revised the school calendar once before the water emergency to build missed days for snow back into the system.

“We have some days built into the calendar to make up missed instructional days,” said Nowviskie. “We intend to utilize any of those we can.”

Nowviskie said they are holding off on revising the calendar again until they hear from State Superintendent Dr. Jim Phares. They expect a determination from him on whether the days missed during a State of Emergency will be required to be made up.

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  • Ellen

    Maybe West Virginia schools should consider looking into some type of online teaching system that way when the kids are out for snow days or emergencies like the one many counties just had or even sick days the teaching/learning process won't be interrupted as much. Perhaps some kind of grants or funding could be looked into that could provide computers to the students who need them so they would have access to such online learning. I know such a project would take time to implement in all the schools in West Virginia but maybe our senators and other lawmakers could spend some time looking into it and get the ball rolling. I think it would be well worth the time and effort.

  • Sam

    I don't disagree that the days needs to be made up in some fashion. My problem that I have is that we have dictated 180 day school year but haven't done anything to mandate attendance. State code allows students to miss days of school with very little accountability. Technically speaking they can miss over 20 days and not have any kind of penalties.

    In other states attendance is mandatory and after so many days missed a student does not receive credit or is retained in their particular grade level.

    It seems to me that if 180 days of schools is so important then attendance should be equally as important.

  • tara

    What is BS is having them start back to school on Friday, knowing that they won't start the new semester, take finals, etc. considering they are already off on Monday as's pointless. Just give them the weekend

  • Alice

    Spring break days are days that are not counted in the 180 days of instruction. So those days will not be taken away. The schedule has days built in for emergencies or snow days that can be made up.
    Some people assume that teachers are paid all year around. That is not true. Classroom teachers work on a 200 day year, many just have their pay adjusted to 24 pay periods. This way they get paid twice a month, but at a lesser rate. Otherwise they would go two months without pay.

  • Stuck in Putnam

    Extend the school hour either in the morning or after, speed up the curriculum, and reduce the amount of gym and music class. Some people already invested their money on spring break vacations. So have the kids get additional assignments during the break which is what should have happened during the Christmas break. Get rid of those "instructional days" that's what the weekend is for.

  • carrie knoble

    I'm so very worried about my children returning to school on Friday , does anyone know if Putnam county if for certain they will have school on Friday. I know they have said they had hoped to

    • tara

      I'm debating not sending my children Friday. ..seems senseless.

  • Logical Parent

    Taking spring break isn't logical, the days missed were in the first semester spring break is in the second semester. Adding days to the second semester does nothing to make up for lost time in classes the first semester.

  • Marie

    I agree with the end of the semester, however, it would be more appropriate if they would drop the lowest grade from each subject. This would likely help correct for final exam issues since additional grades were not able to be added.

  • Justin

    Lazy bureaucrats. They didn't want to deal with the red tape so the education of students is suffering. Don't take away their spring break but make sure they get in all of their school days-including taking exams. If they need more money to do this, fire Hatfield and Knowviskie.

  • Stephanie Davis

    I think if we have to make up the time missed Putnam should tack on 10-20 minutes a day to build those days. A lot of schools in Virginia resorted to this when they missed snow days. Go in 10 min earlier and dismiss 10 min later. Better yet trim down that 1 hour lunch time. In the real world you only get 30 min for lunch.

  • Ellen

    I agree that the education of the students is extremely important. However I do not think they should have to go to school extra days to make up for emergencies such as the one so many people have been suffering through. It is said that the children are required to be in class a certain number of days yet they are taken on field trips and are allowed to partake of other activities that take away from class time and nothing is ever said about it. I think if those types of things are deemed acceptable then exceptions should be made in cases of emergencies. Why penalize the kids when they have no more control over what has happened then anyone else?

  • Sparkie

    I do not feel that the kids should have their Spring break taken away. Many parents/families do have plans already made for that week. I always was told and thought that the kids do not have to make up time missed if there was a State of Emergency in place. I'm still skeptical about the kids even returning back to school on Fri. I DO NOT feel that this water is safe, even though WVAW is saying it is. Too many people are getting sick. Actually after the all clear than when the ban was placed. Scary to think the food will be cooked with it and our kids will be drinking it at school during the day. Not happening at home.

    • Maddie

      I couldn't agree more. Spring break will pretty much be the only break we get until summer. I still don't even have water. How am I supposed to shower before school?

    • tara

      I think I'm keeping my children home... I have a feeling there will be a LOT of absences tomorrow.

    • Sally

      I feel the opposite. I think they should have to make it up like all the other schools in this state. Do you know how many schools has missed many days? yeah. A lot! All of them have to make it up and I say they have to as well. I know fairness isnt in the world a lot but it should be when it comes to education. Some of these kids need the exam to pass. Are they just gonna have it took away?

      • Ellen

        In my opinion though this is completely different from having to make up missed snow days. Snow days are at the option of the superintendent whether or not to have school on those days. This was an emergency that required the children not to be in class. Therefore I think it should be given special consideration as such. I'm sorry if others do not agree with this but I think when there is an emergency that keeps the children from being in school there should be a different set of criteria. Especially when the governor declares a State of Emergency.

        • BH

          This is their education your talking about. Why not just cancel the spring semester so "students" and parents won't be inconvenienced.

    • Franklin the turtle

      I disagree because the amount of days they have already missed are the same amount or even more of what they would get off from spring break. So basically, this is an early srping break for them. So it wouldnt really be fair to let them have the same amount of days as the other counties who have had to be in school.

      • BH

        Cancel spring break.

      • Sally

        I agree Mr. Turtle

  • do nothing

    To be honest, we all know the schools do nothing the last week or two of school. Teach up until the last day and the kids will meet all requirements.
    Also, there is no excuse for having a whole week off at thanksgiving when winter break is less than a month away. Cut that out and you will have plenty of days added in there for times like these.
    Taking away spring break should not be an option. It is unfair to ask students to go that long without a break.
    If anything, take that day every month when the students are off for "teacher prep"! Don't punish the kids!

  • Nick

    Is school in putnam county closed on Thursday?

  • N8QQD

    Why not use Saturdays to make up the days missed?

    • TiredInTucker

      It is illegal to have school on Saturday.