CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The debate over a full 180 days of classroom instruction has been a point of contention for years in West Virginia, but the Kanawha County School Board, like others across the state, is not going to drag its feet this year.
“The legislature last year required beginning this school year all counties must have 180 separate days of instruction,” said board attorney Jim Withrow.
This week the school board took action to insure it happened. Under the lost time policy, the school system could extend the school year as far as June 30 to make up any days missed for snow or other circumstances like the January water emergency. It’s possible, spring break could be swallowed up as well.
“That’s a possibility, but I think that would be a last resort,” Withrow said. “He would have the discretion to use those days to make up.”
Last year, Kanawha County missed 17 days, which was very unusual. Withrow said normally it’s only two to three days missed for the weather and those could be easily absorbed with non-instructional calendar days or added at the end of the year. What is less publicized is the policy is aimed at making up lost time, meaning every day the county runs on a two-hour delay–the missed two hours would also have to be accounted for.
“If you have a delay or an early dismissal, you’re required to make that up as well,” he said. “The two-hour delays we sometimes have will have to be made up as well.”
Withrow said with the rigid 180-day requirement, the state has loosened the rigid requirements on administering the WestTest. Under the new policy, the test dates are not set in stone and can be delivered in a range of time periods to insure students have received adequate instruction ahead of the standardized tests.