Parents running out of snow day ideas

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
Although students may be relishing the days off brought on by this week’s winter weather, many parents say it’s time to head back to class.
“I’ve enjoyed having them home, but I’m ready for them to go back to school,” Keenen Witherspoon said Wednesday as he picked up his daughters Ty’Asia Hunt, 5, and Alexandra Witherspoon, 3, from the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA’s child care after working out. “We’ve had a great time playing in the snow, but being stuck inside the house is a different story.”
Today marks the fourth day this week that Rowan-Salisbury School System and Kannapolis City Schools have canceled classes due to icy road conditions. It’s the fifth day out this academic year.
Sabrina Black said she’ll be glad when school starts back as she’s running out of ways to keep her children occupied.
“They’ve mostly been watching movies and eating,” she said.
Black packed the kids up and headed to the Rowan Public Library on Wednesday to check out some books and let the kids play some of the educational computer games.
“We came here today because we didn’t have anything to do,” she said.
Black’s daughter, Destiny Black-Walker, 9, who attends Hanford-Dole Elementary School, said she’s been entertaining herself by playing with her Barbie dolls, riding her bike and playing with the family’s dog, Pooch.
Cindy Corby spent Wednesday with her grandson, Taylor Corby, 6, who attends Hanford-Dole. She said they’ve been enjoying the snow and playing board games.
“We spent the day at the library and we’re off to see ‘Yogi Bear’ after this,” she said.
Despite the quality time together, Corby admits she’s “definitely ready for them to go back (to school).”
Nine-year-old Kiersten Hyde, a student a Koontz Elementary, said he’s anything but ready to go back to class.
“I enjoy being at home,” he said. “I enjoy seeing my brother and sister and I get to spend time with my family.”
Kiersten said he’s been having snowball fights with his brother, Cameron Hyde, 7, and drinking hot cocoa to stay warm. He spent part of the day at the Y on Wednesday riding a stationary bicycle hooked to a Playstation.
“It’s really fun,” he said.
Kiersten’s brother, Cameron, chose to play Wii bowling with Samantha Shimberg, a student at Hanford-Dole, instead of tackling the bicycle.
Cameron and Samantha agreed that getting the opportunity to play the Wii was one of the highlights of their week.
Making up days
Rowan-Salisbury students will spend one Saturday — Jan. 22 — in class. Scheduled teacher workdays on Jan. 21 and Feb. 21 will also be used as make-up days.
Rita Foil, the district’s public information officer, said a makeup day for today’s canceled classes has yet to be decided.
“It will be announced later,” she said. “When we kind of get through all the results of this storm then we’ll review the options and come up with a decision.”
The Kannapolis Board of Education will have an emergency meeting at 11 this morning to discuss changes to the school calendar.
The school system has already announced Tuesday and Feb. 21 as makeup days, but will have to make a decision about additional days.
State law mandates students attend school a minimum of either 180 days or have 1,000 hours of instruction.
Foil said the only body that could decide that students don’t have to make up school days missed due to inclement weather is the state legislature.
“Right now that’s not an option,” she said.
Vanessa Jeter, director of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Communications and Information Division, said the only time during her 20-year tenure that she’s seen make-up days waived was after Hurricane Floyd dumped massive amounts of rain on eastern North Carolina, causing severe flooding, which became a public health concern.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.