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Spring break stays intact / March 13, 2014
Icy winter weather led to lost time in the classroom, but it won’t cause the cancellation of the April spring break for students and teachers.

That was the good news that Superintendent of Schools Merle Herndon delivered Monday night to Halifax County School Board trustees. Previously, school officials had broached the possibility that spring break would have to be cancelled so the school division could fulfill state attendance requirements with the loss of 13 school days this winter.

According to Herndon, the school division has enough days set aside on the calendar to meet Virginia’s policy requirements, with room to spare for four more cancelled days, if it should come to that.

“We have enough time banked” — after using March 17 as an instructional day rather than a teacher workday — “to cover the 13 days lost to inclement weather,” she told the trustees.

According to a letter from the State Board of Education, the first five cancellation days must made up on a one-to-one basis. After that point, however, the state allows a two-to-one (make-up) schedule, with only one day of school mandated for every two days lost.

With that rule in mind, Halifax County still has two banked days remaining on the calendar — enough to offset the loss of four days of cancelled classes, said the superintendent.

Also Monday, trustees approved the calendar for the 2014-15 school year which starts in August. Perhaps the most noticeable change next year with the early start date for the new school year: Wednesday, Aug. 13.

Holiday breaks on the calendar include: Monday, Oct. 13, Columbus Day, and Tuesday, Nov. 4, Election Day.

Tuesday Nov. 25 will be an early release day with vacation extending through the Thanksgiving week. Students then have a two and a half week Christmas and New Year’s holiday break, beginning with an early release day on Friday, Dec. 19. Students will return to school on Wednesday, Jan. 7 to start the new semester.

Students will have two holidays in January: Lee-Jackson Day on Friday, Jan. 16 and Martin Luther King Day on Monday, Jan. 19.

There are only two holidays coming after that: President’s Day on Monday, Feb. 16 and another open Monday on March 16.

Spring break is scheduled for the week of April 6-10, followed by the traditional Memorial Day vacation on Monday, May 25. The school year ends for students on Friday, May 29 with an early release day. Graduation follows the next day, on May 30.

In other business Monday evening

Trustees unanimously approved moving their April 7 monthly meeting to Clays Mill Elementary School since they will be meeting a week earlier than usual due to spring break and conflicting with the monthly meeting of county supervisors.

The April 7 meeting for the public will begin at 7:30 p.m. since trustees also approved a schedule change which will move their closed sessions to start at the beginning of their 6 p.m. meetings rather than following the usual public meeting. The board also set a special called meeting for Thursday evening, March 27 beginning at 6 p.m.

Halifax County High School Principal Albert Randolph introduced trustees to members of the high school boy's basketball team and coach Larry Epperly. “These young men have represented us well and we thank you for your support,” Randolph said, of the conference championship team. He noted that the Comet basketball team regularly drew crowds of 3,000 spectators to the high school to enjoy their games.

Randolph also recognized HCHS theater champion instructor Greg Donner, who noted that his students were not present for the meeting since they were hard at work practicing for this weekend’s performance of “Cinderella.”

Trustees also recognized the winners of Del. James Edmunds’ Rural Virginia Art Contest. Those winners will be honored later after Edmunds returns from his General Assembly duties. They are Dylan Martin, Kindergarten, Cluster Springs Elementary, Kayden Worley, first grade, Clays Mill Elementary; Leah Wright, second grade, Cluster Springs, Meredith Williams,fourth grade, South Boston, Colby Hancock, fifth grade, Meadville, Megan Powell, sixth grade HCMS, Jullian Crews, seventh grade, HCMS, Raykwon Waller, tenth grade, HCHS, Jada Gaines, eleventh grade, HCHS and Jamie Crews, twelvth grade, HCHS.

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