BERRYVILLE — Brace yourselves for some bad news, kids: There will be no snow days this year in Clarke County Public Schools.

In fact, it’s possible that snow days for schools throughout the commonwealth could vanish, possibly forever.

Blame it on COVID-19. Starting in March, the novel coronavirus forced schools statewide to switch to an online learning model to complete the 2019-20 school year. Now, it’s wreaking havoc with the 2020-21 school calendar, as school divisions across the state struggle with offering in-person classes, online instruction or a combination of the two when schools reopen in the fall.

In Clarke County, schools Superintendent Chuck Bishop said there isn’t enough wiggle room in the division’s 2020-21 calendar to allow for inclement weather days. If school buildings are closed over snow or flooding, students will still be required to attend online classes from home. The only possible exception is if there are widespread power outages that prevent students from using computers.

Following Monday night’s meeting of the Clarke County School Board, Bishop said Clarke County Public Schools may be the first in Virginia to publicly state that learning will not stop during the upcoming school year because of bad weather. But he suspects that most other school divisions throughout the commonwealth are thinking the same thing.

As schools adapt to the new reality of blending in-person instruction with online learning, Bishop said it’s possible that snow days could become extinct.

— Contact Brian Brehm at bbrehm@winchesterstar.com

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