Smyth County

Snow days pile up for Southwest Virginia schools

School snow days

SMYTH COUNTY, Va. - Some school systems in Virginia are calling this weather 'March madness' after missing and going over the built-in snow days on their schedule.

We're in the first week of spring, and instead of kids out playing baseball, the field is blanketed in snow.

School systems are feeling pressure as snow days are continuing to pile up. In Smyth County, Virginia school was out Tuesday, marking the eighteenth day this year missed due to snow. "This winter has been crazy as far as weather goes. Missing on March 25th is not something we would anticipate normally," adds Smyth County Superintendent Michael Robinson.

Robinson tells us right now they have three choices when it snows -- go on regular schedule, on a 2-hour delay, or cancel classes altogether. "We have staff members who go out and check roads first thing in the morning, usually around 4:00 a.m. By 5:00 they report in on what the conditions are," he explained.

Robinson says they try to make a call by 5:30 a.m., but that can be difficult. "These days in March have been tough as far as that goes, because by noon a lot of times the snow is gone, but at 8:30, 9:00 a.m. when we would be pulling the buses out it's on the road," he said.

We learned Smyth County Schools considered adding an option of a three-hour delay when it snows, but Robinson tells us that wouldn't have helped much this year. "Right now our last day of school would be June 10. We go Monday and Tuesday into that week. If that's all that we do, then we'll provide the school board with some options of possibly using bank time," he said.

Robinson tells us first to go is vacation days, then they will add days onto the end of the year. A last resort is adding extra time onto existing school days or going on Saturdays.

Meanwhile, everyone is hoping this will be the last snow day this year. "I hope this is a fond farewell to winter," adds Jason Finney.

We checked to see how many school days districts in Southwest Virginia missed; in Smyth County it's 18 days. Washington County, Virginia students missed 14 days, and Wise County students had an extra 12 days off.

In Northeast Tennessee, Carter County Schools have to make up 13 days; Johnson County Students missed 17 days; and Unicoi County students used their last built-in snow day on Tuesday.

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