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Lost instruction time is headache for school leaders
Officials try to figure out how to make up for lost time
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Winter weather recovery

Most schools and government services will resume normal service on Tuesday, following the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday

Gainesville city government: Has resumed normal service but will be closed for holiday on Monday

Gainesville City Schools: Will resume Tuesday; Jan. 14 homecoming activities postponed until Feb. 1

Gainesville garbage, recycling: Will resume Monday with extra crews Monday and Tuesday to catch up

Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center: Will reopen Tuesday, including Meals on Wheels service

Hall County government, courts: Furlough scheduled for Tuesday is canceled

Hall County Schools: Will resume Tuesday; school board work session rescheduled to 5 p.m. Tuesday

North Georgia College & State University: Will resume normal schedule today

Red Rabbit: Will resume all routes Tuesday

Truett-McConnell College: Classes resume Monday as Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday canceled

U.S. Postal Service: Has resumed where carriers are able to travel

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School officials are trying to figure out how to make up for lost time following last week's winter storm.

The heavy snowfall and icy road conditions led to widespread closures across the county, and local school boards are left to find openings in the calendar for makeup days.

Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield said the district will seek input from families and staff before announcing a decision in the next week.

A "family survey" was sent by e-mail which included options such as lengthening school days for part of the school year or creating a small number of half-day Saturdays in March.

"Within 15 minutes, already about 140 parents have responded," Schofield said Friday. "We'll have several thousand respondents, which will help us make a better decision, because this affects an awful lot of people."

Other options included adding back Presidents' Day on Feb. 21 as an instructional day or extending the school year.

Gainesville City Schools is also accepting feedback about ways to create replacement school days for children. The school board will discuss the issue at the Jan. 18 board meeting.

Several teachers and parents have voiced concern that losing a week's worth of class impacted the time needed to cover topics before major exams, Gainesville Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said. High school students will take the graduation test in March and end-of-course tests in April, which account for 15 percent of students' grades.

"It's pretty clear teachers and parents want to make up the days before testing instead of waiting until the end of the school year. We're looking at several options," Dyer said.

The closures also extended to local colleges and universities last week.

North Georgia College & State University spokeswoman Kate Maine said Monday was the start of the new semester for students but the weather forced officials to close the campus for three days. Evening classes were canceled Thursday night.

"Faculty and students were planning to get classes under way this week," Maine said. "It's thrown everyone off kilter a bit."

The last day of spring semester at North Georgia is April 18; however, that date could change, Maine said.

"We will be making up the days but we have not decided on a definitive plan yet," Maine said.

Makeup policies are expected to vary across the state, as the State Board of Regents doesn't have rules on the issue.

"The (University System of Georgia) leaves it up to each institution to determine how it will make up the classes, as there is some variation from school-to-school in academic calendars," Maine said.

Due to the missed classes, college leaders also adjusted drop/add deadlines for students.

North Georgia and Brenau University each extended the deadline and Georgia State College pushed the deadline to Jan. 19.

Gainesville State College spokeswoman Sloan Jones said announcements for any calendar adjustments will be made at a later time.

"We've had (snow days) before but we've never had this many at one time," Sloan said, adding that officials were prompted to close the campus for the whole week. "In the past, we've not made them up."

Brenau University Provost Jim Southerland said the university is flexible about making up lost class time. Instructors may adjust the syllabus, or the university could schedule makeup days. He said the decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

As a result of the snow days, officials canceled the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Women's College convocation scheduled for Thursday. An appreciation dinner at the Country Club for Judge Sidney O. Smith Jr., who was recently named to the graduate school, was rescheduled for March.

The drop/add period for Brenau was Monday through Wednesday of last week, but it was extended into next week, Southerland said.

 

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