CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice wants county school systems to be given as much flexibility as possible to make up the nine days missed during the education workers strike.

The governor indicated Tuesday he wasn’t interested in seeing school systems staying open deep into June.

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Gov. Jim Justice

“Our children have suffered enough. We need to return some sense of normalcy to the education process,” Justice said. “Families should and will have the time for their summer vacations.”

Justice also said he didn’t want summer feeding programs put in jeopardy by extending the school year.

Justice has asked state School Superintendent Steve Paine to provide assistance to county school superintendents to create flexibility in meeting the calendar requirements of 180 days of instruction.

Paine issued a statement Tuesday evening

Steve Paine

“At the direction of Governor Justice, I will immediately begin working with our State Board of Education to explore all possible avenues for local districts to make up the instructional time that has been lost throughout the last nine days. My staff and I will work with each of our counties to identify every opportunity to maximize meaningful instruction while also minimizing disruption to students and families. We are committed to providing timely technical assistance to each individual county to innovatively restructure their calendars and to find additional flexibility within their local attendance policies to better accommodate the needs of families,” Paine said.

Paine added his office will providing technical assistance to counties and anticipates individual school districts to be making their decisions soon and making those known to their students and parents.

In Kanawha County, Superintendent Ron Duerring said his county is working on the changes and hopes to have a decision by Friday.

“We’ll be looking at what we have available because we have some snow days in there as well. So we’ll combine all of those and take a look at what days we need to use to make up those lost days of instruction,” Duerring said.

MetroNews file photo

Dale Lee

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said Tuesday he’s not concerned if counties don’t meet the 180 day requirement.

“Before the calendar bill changed three or four years ago we had many years that we had snow and didn’t complete 180 days,” Lee said. “Teachers are resilient. They know what their kids need to know and they know how to get them there. It doesn’t concern me at all.”

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