Snow days turn into a snow week in some local school districts

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Kendall Downing

POPE COUNTY, Ill./ GRAVES COUNTY, Ky. - The sleet and snow's given some area students a whole week off right before the Christmas holiday break.

Administrators in rural districts tell us some roads are still too icy to risk putting a bus on.

This time last week the nasty weather was just beginning.

Here a week later, two local school districts are already putting plans in motion to have students make up those snow days.

An empty hallway, dark classroom, and dated Christmas countdown, those are the signs of five snow days in a row.

"Hopefully we get into the new year and the weather won't be as bad," said Rob Wright, Pope County CUSD #1 Superintendent.

Wright said a stretch like that is unusual in December.

"It continues to be so cold. Last night, single digits, there's just not much melting going on," he said.

While main roads appear clear, it's hilly side roads that are still full of icy patches. With students spread out along 300 miles, Wright said he can't take a chance on student safety.

"Some areas may be ok, but other areas are just impassable," he said.

Graves County Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Smith said the snow days for her district are piling up. Road conditions are slowly getting better.

"We look at this and try to make the decisions that are the best for the kids," she said.

Smith said students in Graves County could make up a day in January, one in February, and the others would be tacked on at the end of the year. They are scheduled to go to school Friday, just two hours late.

"At this point, if we don't miss any more, we have a plan," she said.

Wright has a backup plan in place for Pope County schools, include days built into the calendar. He's just hoping for no more snow after the holidays.

"The students will go longer come May or June than what they would otherwise if we didn't use those days," he said.

Kentucky law specifies that students must be in class for 173 instructional days.

Rob Wright said Pope County Schools have ten days built into the calendar, but if they miss more than that the district can ask the state of Illinois for an "Act of God" waiver. Then they wouldn't have to make up any additional days past ten.

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