Pile of snow days does not concern school officials

Snow piles begin to melt in front of South Callaway R-II High School Thursday afternoon. School officials say they doubt this year's snow days will put teachers in a time crunch.

Mid-Missouri school officials told KRCG 13 Thursday they did not expect serious issues to arise from a string of snow days.

South Callaway R-II High School principal Heather Helsel said teachers' biggest concern is getting students back into school mode after so much time off.

"When you miss two weeks of school, it's very hard to kind of get the kids back into the routine," she said. "It's almost like starting anew after we've had a second Christmas break."

Helsel said she was not worried about whether her students would be ready for assessment tests. Since high school students are assessed at the end of the year, she said those tests would simply get backed up along with the rest of the curriculum. South Callaway R-II currently has to make up eight days, twice the number built into the school calendar.

New Bloomfield R-III superintendent David Tramel told KRCG 13 snow days generally do not impact teacher contracts or instruction requirements. He said school districts must match a set number of instruction hours each year. Any days missed simply never happened as far as the calendar is concerned. Rural school districts in mid-Missouri reported more snow days than schools in Columbia and Jefferson City, but Tramel said he did not expect this to impact test scores.

Helsel said the South Callaway district is strongly considering late starts next year to give MoDOT more time to clear the roads and to avoid dealing with extreme cold in the early morning. She said parents are quite concerned about the safety of high school age drivers, particularly on rural roads that have not been cleared. She said the district is considering adding more snow days to the school calendar next year, though she would not specify how many. She said the district will discuss those issues in March.