Wood County Schools makes survey available

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By Michael Erb
Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG - Residents, students and parents wanting to comment on the Wood County Schools calendar process have a few more days to take an online survey.

The survey will be active through Sunday and takes only a few minutes to complete.

A change in state law will change how school systems create calendars. Under the new law all school systems are required to provide 180 days of instruction, must have a plan in place to make up all instructional time lost due to bad weather and other events and can begin the school year earlier and end later than in years past. The school year would be permitted to begin in early August and go as late as June 30 if needed.

The Wood County Schools survey includes questions on what breaks are most important, such as hunting season and Spring Break, whether families prefer two-hour delays or two-hour early releases on teacher training days, and other issues.

Judy Johnson, director of curriculum and instruction for Wood County Schools, said nearly 4,800 people had taken the survey as of Thursday.

"Because the law has changed so much for next year, we really want the public opinion to help guide us in creating the calendar," Johnson said. "People say they still want to start at the end of August and end in the end of May, but we can't do that. It's not our choice."

This means some of those traditional fall, winter and spring breaks will need to change, as the school system will no longer have "protected days" built into the calendar, she said.

Johnson said the Wood County Schools Calendar Committee will meet Feb. 18 to review the survey results. Two public hearings on the calendar will be held in March, most likely before or as part of the Wood County Board of Education's regular meetings. Those dates will be announced and advertised ahead of time, she said.