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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  • 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.

  • Jo

    I agree that the teachers nor the students are responsible for this emergency, but in any case it is the kids education that remains the most important! I would love to spend a week of spring break with my children but if that's the only place that make up days can be added I'm all for it! I feel assured the BOE will make the right decision. Whether we agree with their decision or not we will have to deal with it.

  • Student needing to pass clas

    I need my exam to pass my class it's not fair to cancel for those you need it

    • Big Dave

      Go to your teacher and see what can be done. Because they cancel the exams for all doesn't mean there can't be accomodations made for those who WANT to take them.

    • Darren

      If u need the exam to pass, not very likely the exam will help. Unless, of course, you've not been trying. In that case, u et what u deserve.

      • Franklin the turtle

        thats not always true Darren.

    • Aaron

      I'm quite sure that if that were the case the student could go to their teacher and a reasonable concession could be made.

    • Webb

      Should have done better on ALL of your other tests....

      • Reagan

        I am sorry for the students that need their exams to try and pass a certain class. However it wouldn't be fair to fail them or just pass them. Tricky situation

  • Rob Barnes

    Spring break should not be taken away. Some families have had vacations scheduled & paid for in advance and I'm sure those would be non-refundable. As for ridiculous comments about teachers; please note that they spend more time with most of these students then their parents. Those comments serve no purpose as these teachers did nothing wrong to deserve them. Maybe all those that say such things need to examine their lives a little more closely and figure what makes them so bitter. Let it go man, let it go.

  • Backwards

    If half these comments are posted by Putnam County students, they are obviously in need of an English final, or perhaps a remedial writing class.

  • Student

    As a student I saw wave finals!! This will mean I will pass Algebra 2!

    • Backwards


      Perhaps you should take an English final. Obviously you could benefit from some proofreading skills.

      • jose

        Backwards, you need to learn some punctuation skills. Until then, don't preach it.

  • Denise

    The spring break or any other break shouldn't be taken away from the kids it's not their fault for someone else's mess up. They didn't go and make the holes or cracks in the tanks or walls. It was a state of emergency.

  • student

    Wat are u going to do with the students tht rely on the finals because most likely they either slacked or they didnt understand i mean some people rely on it

    • Darren

      If a student was slacking with a PLAN to correct it on the final exam, he/she will have what they deserve. No sympathy for trying to just "get by". Students must be motivated to ACHIEVE.

      • Darren

        If u can't pass when going over the subject in detail, what makes u think u can pass it in review.

  • Heather Chandler

    Spring break or any other break shouldnt be taking away from the kids because of someone elses screw up.

    • WV Guru

      As an old timer, what is Spring Break? Never had one, whatever they are.

  • a concerned educator

    I agree with this decision. To be completely fair in regards to final exams, teachers would need to reteach/review so much information, thus taking away from teaching new material. If it had only been one or two days, I could see having the finals. However, this is not the case. In addition, the lack of water may have disrupted many households. Students may have had to live with relatives in other areas, so studying may not have been top priority.

    I am glad that Putnam County Schools are using a common sense approach.

  • Ralph Carbunkle

    Take away spring break.

    • Deb

      Thats not fair. Not right. Its not students or teachers fault

      • Jason412

        My senior year we had our entire spring break taken because of snow days. They certainly should be able to do it for something as important as this.

        Teachers certainly get enough time off, that shouldn't even be part of the issue. School is about the kids, not the teachers.

      • Darren

        It's not teachers or students fault, but sometimes things happen in life that seems unfair. The most logical thing is to use spring break as instructional days. This is not a punishment, but simply necessary to accomplish the mission of the education system.

        • Amy

          I say take spring break. We have missed so much school, so why have another week off before the end of the school year? I'm sure the school officials will make the right decision. I would rather miss spring break, than add more days to the end of the year. It is what it is, and people need to realize all of this has and will continue to be out of our hands!

  • I say

    Take away spring break. Take away any holidays. That should cover it.

    Of course, you'll hear the teachers moaning and bitching to the ends of the earth.

    • WVTeach

      Dear "I say",

      Do you know ANY teachers personally? I really am skeptical. We are worried sick about our students. We love teaching but aside from that we KNOW many kids rely on school food as their primary source of nutrition.

      Your comment was rude and ugly. Had you been through my classroom door you would know that such conversation reflects poorly on you and your whole family.

      Make you family proud...know what you're talking about and say it without cursing on a public forum.


      Wish you'd been in my class!

      • Mud River Girl

        Dear WVTeach,

        I say, "Ditto" to every word you said. Well stated!

        Been There!

    • Teachersdidn'tcauseit

      This comment was not called for. I knew if I read enough comments I would read something about the Teachers. I say let the ones that run the schools make the decisions and keep your comments about the teachers to "I say".

      • Huh?

        State workers didn't cause it and they still had to work in buildings (breeding grounds for disease) with no water for less pay than teachers. And I am talking about state workers with degrees and advanced degrees that equal or surpass teaching degrees.