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Attendance drops in counties with extended school calendars

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Counties that extended school calendars into June to make up for lost instruction have experienced significant drops in attendance recently, renewing debate over the state’s strict requirement that students receive 180 separate days of instruction.

Sen. Daniel Hall, R-Wyoming, criticized the state’s instructional time law on Thursday after learning attendance in his district may have dipped below 10 percent this week. To make up several snow days that caused students to miss more class than permitted, schools in his district, which includes Raleigh and Wyoming counties and part of McDowell, will be in session until Monday and Wednesday, respectively.

That lost time was made up by rescheduling the last day of school, a move that has angered parents, teachers and students alike. This is the first year counties were permitted to extend the calendar to meet the 180-day requirement.

“If you want to have a requirement for instructional time, change it from days to equivalent minutes,” Hall said. “It’s the same amount of time spent in the classroom and it will probably be better quality.”

Hall sponsored legislation this year that would have allowed schools to meet the 180-day requirement as long as students received an equal amount of instructional minutes, but the bill did not find its way to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s desk…

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