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Putnam County schools cancel 1st semester final exams because of water emergency

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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