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Schools ponder makeup time
District could extend calendar, school days
1 School Make up pic1
Winter storms dumped 4 to 8 inches of snow across Dawson County last week. As a result, students missed five days of school, which will have to be made up somehow. - photo by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Following a winter storm that gave students and staff an unexpected weeklong break from classes, Dawson County school officials are considering several options to make up the lost time.


According to Superintendent Keith Porter, they could either extend the school year several days or lengthen remaining school days by several minutes.


Another possibility would be if the state grants “forgiveness or grace” for a certain number of missed instructional days.


Faced with having to make up eight days, officials will first use the four days built in to the calendar, including President’s Day next month.


A teacher reduction day was also on the calendar, so that took care of five of the missed days, according to Porter.


“Those are prime candidates for makeup days,” Porter said. “My main concern right now is that we’ve missed so many instructional hours, and I think it’s going to be imperative that we make up those days.”


In addition, he said, officials would “do everything possible to avoid using our spring break days to make it up, because many people have already made plans during that week, and we’re worried about attendance.”


Added Porter: “It would really defeat the purpose if we have low attendance during that time.”


Officials will address the days lost so far, Porter said, but “at the same time we’re early in the winter, and our concern is that we would possibly miss additional days.”


Will Wade, vice chairman of the school board, said he would be open to most makeup options.


“Whether it’s 15 or 20 extra minutes of school every day or more calendar days ... I think the community will be behind us,” Wade said.


Officials will be listening over the next few weeks to find out if the state will pardon some or all of the missed days.


“Typically, when there’s a large number of school systems that miss days, that will become available to us,” Porter said.


The board may discuss the matter at its next meeting, which is for 6:30 p.m. Thursday.